West Texas Community Grieves Over Tragic Cheerleader Bus Crash

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On Dec. 3, The Texas DPS released a preliminary report into the crash investigation involving an Iraan-Sheffield ISD school bus late Friday night, about one mile west of Big Spring, Texas, on Interstate-20.

According to the report, Nijimbere Eliphase, 40, of Richardson, was eastbound on I-20 driving a 2007 Freightliner tractor towing a semi-trailer in the outside lane when he observed a black passenger car slam on its brakes, at which time Eliphase veered his semi to the right to avoid a collision.

During the maneuver, the semi went out of control and crossed the center median of the four-lane divided interstate and into the westbound lanes of I-20.

DPS reported that the Freightliner struck the westbound bus, a 2015 Chevrolet van operated by the Iraan-Sheffield ISD.

Onboard the van was two adults, and six female Iraan High School cheerleaders. DPS reported all were transported to Big Spring’s Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

One of the adults in the cheerleaders’ van was killed. DPS identified her as Elizabeth Pope, 52, of Iraan. The driver was Christina Garlock, 48, also of Iraan. In other reports, Garlock is listed in critical condition.

DPS gave no updates on the condition of the cheerleaders.

As in most van configurations, DPS reported that Pope was not wearing a seatbelt. The seatbelt status of the student cheerleaders was listed as “n/a” on the DPS report.

Michael Davis of Iraan posted on the Iraan Homecoming 2012 Facbook group:

“We lost a sponsor, the other has broken ankles, legs, ribs, a pelvis, and bone in her back. One cheerleader has fractures in her spine, one has a fractured skull and jaw, one was intubated and all four are going to Lubbock.One got stitches in her elbow and a sling for 10 days, as well as a broken nose. Others have scrapes and bruises. Please continue to pray.”