Texas school bus crash: Truck driver charged with negligent homicide

The cement truck driver involved in the deadly crash with a Hays CISD school bus and another vehicle was charged and arrested on Friday afternoon at a residence in Bastrop County, Texas DPS said.

According to Bastrop County court records, truck driver Jerry Hernandez was charged with criminally negligent homicide.

Hernandez was arrested on Friday, March 29 on a negligent homicide warrant. He was also arrested on an unrelated warrant for a bond violation out of Hays County.

Both warrants were served at his home in Bastrop County, and he was taken into custody without incident.


On Thursday, a source with Texas DPS confirmed that an arrest affidavit says Hernandez admitted to an officer at the scene that he took marijuana and cocaine the morning of the deadly crash.

The crash included a Hays CISD school bus with 44 pre-kindergarten students and 11 adults. A second vehicle that was behind the bus was also involved in the crash on Friday, March 22. 

Two people were killed in the crash: Five-year-old Ulises Rodriguez Montoya and 33-year-old Ryan Wallace.

According to Hays CISD, an early childhood education teacher is still hospitalized following the crash, and the bus driver is still recovering mentally and physically.


Criminal case records from Bastrop County show that Hernandez has a much longer history with the law.

According to his case records, Hernandez also has about a dozen traffic violations across three Central Texas counties, some as early as 2000.

"We're excited to see this particular driver off of the road to take away that specific danger from the public immediately," said Tray Gober, a personal injury attorney and managing partner at Lee, Gober, & Reyna law firm.

Gober is the attorney for one of the families whose child was injured on the Hays CISD school bus.

"We're impressed by the speed with which the investigation has proceeded and the attention that this is receiving by law enforcement to hold accountable this very obviously culpable driver," said Gober.

But all of this, he said, should never have happened.

DPS said a warrant details Hernandez admitting to an officer on the scene to taking cocaine and marijuana the morning of the crash.

"This is an entirely avoidable crash," said Gober. "This is a defendant that chose to put themselves behind the wheel of a very heavy vehicle to endanger themselves and the public at large."

Gober thinks more charges could follow after a blood test.

If charged in relation to drug use, it would be the second time something like this shows up on his records.

In 2010, Bastrop County records said he was charged with possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia in 2010.

But this new charge, for criminally negligent homicide, Gober said, is a step in the right direction towards justice.

"That is a long and slow path, unfortunately, but it is a definite path," said Gober.

While being arrested in connection to the bus crash, Hernandez was also arrested on an unrelated warrant out of Hays County for a bond violation.

FOX 7 Austin reached out to the company Hernandez is employed with and its lawyers, but have not heard anything back yet.