UPDATE: Three dead in Big Spring crash involving Andrews ISD band bus; here's what we know

Alana Edgin John Tufts Laura Gutschke
San Angelo Standard-Times
At least two people were killed when a school bus from Andrews Independent School District was struck by a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on Interstate 20 near Big Spring Friday, Nov. 19, 2021.

This story has been updated with more information about a deadly vehicle crash near Big Spring, Texas. Check back frequently for updates when they become available.

BIG SPRING — At least three people died after a crash Friday afternoon near here involving a vehicle driving the wrong way on Interstate 20 and colliding with two Andrews High School school buses.

At about 4:46 p.m. Friday, the Department of Public Safety was called to investigate a major crash on I-20, according to Sgt. Justin Baker, spokesperson with the DPS.

Officials said a pickup was driving the wrong way on the interstate and crashed into the bus near mile marker 179. The bus was carrying members of the Andrews High School marching band, the Andrews ISD confirmed to NewsWest9.

The crash resulted in at least two fatalities, Baker said during an earlier interview with the San Angelo Standard-Times. On Saturday morning, Baker said the death count had risen to three.

Killed was the driver of the vehicle involved in the bus collision, according to a 7:24 p.m. Friday social media post from state Rep. Brooks Landgraf, whose district includes Andrews County. He stated he had spoken with DPS prior to making the public update.

Two adults in the school bus died as a result of their injuries, according to Baker.

"We're all keeping them in our prayers," Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason said on Friday during an interview with the Standard-Times.

The school's playoff game in Sweetwater against Springtown was postponed.

Abilene Reporter-News sports writer Carson Field, who had just arrived in Big Spring to cover another football playoff game, said at least two Andrews buses appeared to be involved in the crash. 

The crash was being worked as evening came.

The crash scene was on the eastbound side of the interstate, and lanes were closed as first responders worked.

Ford F-350 pickup collided with charter buses filled with students

Baker said a preliminary investigation showed a Ford F-350 pickup was traveling westbound on Interstate 20 in the eastbound lane.

"At the same time, three charter buses were traveling in the eastbound lane from Andrews to Sweetwater for a football playoff game," Baker said. "The Ford F-350 collided head-on with the first charter bus."

Several first responders worked the scene near Big Spring where a school bus from Andrews Independent School District was struck by a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on Interstate 20 Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. At least two people were killed.

Baker said the pickup continued moving and struck the second charter bus, causing minor damage, but missed the third bus.

The driver of the Ford-350 died "on scene" as a result of the crash, Baker said.

There were 25 students from Andrews ISD in the first charter bus as well as three adults. Two students and one adult were transported by helicopter to a Lubbock hospital, according to Baker.

"The two students who are being treated are in critical, but stable condition," Baker said.

More:'Praying for Andrews ISD': Social media reactions after school bus crash near Big Spring

The adult who was transported by helicopter died as a result of his injuries, Baker said, who declined not to name the deceased.

Social media reports named one of the adults killed in the crash as Andrews High band director Darin K. Johns.

Cathy Ashby, president of United Way of Abilene and a former Abilene ISD administrator, told the Reporter-News on Saturday that Johns was at now-closed Franklin Middle School in Abilene in the 1990s. She identified him as an Abilene Christian University graduate.

He also served as band director in the Jim Ned and Ballinger school districts. She said he went to the Andrews ISD in 2015.

Eleven students and one adult were transported to Big Spring Hospital and were being treated for "non-life-threatening injuries," Baker said.

The remaining students and passengers were transported to the Big Spring Athletic Training Center.

Andrews, Springtown game postponed after deadly crash

Andrews was scheduled to face Springtown in an area-round football playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday in Sweetwater.

The game has since been postponed, according to a message on the Springtown ISD Facebook page.

"Please pray for the families in Andrews ISD... Tonight’s Area Championship Game has been postponed. New information will be shared as we receive it," the message stated.

Carson Field contributed to this story.

Alana Edgin is a journalist covering Crime and Courts in West Texas. Send her a news tip at aedgin@gannett.com. John Tufts covers investigative topics in West Texas.