Several Injured, Including Children, When Car Hits Church Bus Near Poteau

Courtesy of LeFlore County Emergency Management

LEFLORE COUNTY, Okla. (KFSM) — Several people were injured, including children, when a car hit a church bus near Poteau on Wednesday evening (Oct. 24).

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the accident happened about 7 p.m. on Oklahoma Highway 83 and Morris Creek Road about a mile south of Poteau in LeFlore County.

The 2007 Chevrolet bus from Poteau First Baptist Church was being driven by Aurora Baeza De Aguilar, 53, of Poteau. The bus had nine passengers at the time, including three adults and six children. The youths ranged in age from one year old to age 12.

According to investigators, the bus was eastbound on Highway 83 when it approached Morris Creek Road. A 2012 Ford Focus driven by Caren F. Edwards, 61, of Poteau was traveling north on the road when the bus driver failed to yield at a stop sign while making a left turn onto the highway. This caused Edwards to hit the bus.

Both the bus and the car ended up in the ditch, investigators said. The bus landed on its side.

Edwards and her passenger, 63-year-old Ronald Edwards, were both treated at Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center in Poteau before being transported to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith with multiple injuries. They were both stable, investigators said.

All of the occupants of the bus were taken to Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center in Poteau. A 7-year-old girl was later taken to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa with serious injuries. She was admitted and was stable, investigators said.

Highway Patrol released the conditions of the other occupants about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. They include De Aguilar; Felicita Garcia, 43, of Heavener; Mayra Garcia, 18, of Heavener; Eluteria Garcia, 38, of Heavener; a 1-year-old girl who was in a child restraint seat; a 10-year-old boy; an 11-year-old girl; a 12-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy. They were all treated at Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center and released, the Highway Patrol said.

Pastor Gentry Hill of Poteau First Baptist Church confirmed that De Aguilar was the driver and that her husband is a pastor for the Spanish-language service that takes place in the same church.