Trinity, TX was left in mourning after a Trinity I.S.D. van was hit on Dec. 1, leading to the injuries of several children, and the death of 7-year-old Journey Magness, the daughter of Trinity County Sheriff’s Deputy David Magness.
The Texas Department of Public Safety troopers responded to the two-vehicle fatality on FM 1893, about five miles west of Trinity.
According to a statement released by DPS, the preliminary investigation indicates the eastbound 2015 Chevrolet Trinity I.S.D. van loaded with 8 children was stopped to pick up a child when it was struck from behind by a 2008 Ford pick-up, occupied by the driver and three passengers.
Magness, 7, was in the van at the time and received substantial injuries at the time of the crash. She was transported to East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) in Trinity where she was pronounced deceased.
Justice of the Peace Hayne Huffman performed the inquest.
“It’s a tragedy,” Huffman said. “To my knowledge this is the first death involving a school vehicle since 1970. We’ve never had an incident like this. It affects the whole community.”
The statement released by DPS said five children were transported to ETMC by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries, and the three other passengers and the driver of the T.I.S.D. van were taken to ETMC in Trinity by private vehicle for reported precautionary measures. According to the statement, on-scene investigators found that all the children were properly secured at the time of the crash.
Two of the passengers in the truck were transported to ETMC – Trinity by ambulance, and one by private vehicle. The driver, a 17-year-old Trinity female, was reportedly uninjured.
No other injuries were reported as a result of the crash. The roadway was closed for several hours.
According a statement released by ETMC-Trinity, the hospital saw 11 children/teenagers, and one adult from the accident. The driver of the van and students were treated and released the same day.
Trinity I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. John Kaufman released the following statement:
“The safety of the students and staff of Trinity I.S.D. is our highest priority, and we mourn the loss of one of our students. All of the students, staff, and their families involved in this incident are in the thoughts and prayers of the Trinity I.S.D. family.”
In addition to determining causative factors in the crash, Texas DPS troopers are examining all relevant evidence to ensure state law was followed. Texas DPS troopers will continue to investigate the crash.
An account was set up for Journey’s family at First National Bank in Trinity for those interested in assisting financially. Money can be mailed to David Magness Benefit for Journey Magness, First National Bank, P.O. Box 792, Trinity, TX, 75862.
A GoFundMe page was also set up for the family with a goal of raising $5,000. Within 5 hours, almost $4,000 was donated and the fundraiser exceeded its goal by the following day. According to Waller-Thornton Funeral Home, the average cost of an earth-burial funeral is over $7K. To contribute to the family, visit www.gofundme.com/journey-gains-her-wings.
A fish fry and auction benefit for Journey Magness will be held at Firehouse Pizza on Sunday, Dec. 11. The event is sponsored by the D&S Plaza in conjunction with the 356 Volunteer Fire Dept. Plates are $10 each, and there will be a live auction with Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace auctioneering. Food will be served beginning at 10:30 a.m. On Dec. 12, El Rancho Viejo will donate half of their sales from the day to the Magness family.