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New travel guidelines in place one year after fatal EPISD crash

The El Paso Independent School District has put new guidelines in place, following last year’s deadly crash involving a bus full of coaches and student athletes.

Monday was the one year anniversary of the crash that killed Irvin High School Track Coach Archie Duran.

34 people were on the charter bus including students, coaches and athletic trainers with the El Paso Independent School District.

Among the 34 people, 25 were high school students from Jefferson, Austin, El Paso, Irvin, Burges and Andress. Coaches from Chapin were also on the bus.

The teams had just competed in a track and field meet in Lubbock and were on their way back to El Paso.

State troopers said it was around midnight when the bus crashed into a pickup that was driving the wrong way on State Highway 180 in Hudspeth County, just two hours away from El Paso.

Duran died at the scene. The driver of the pickup truck was also killed.

After the crash, parents questioned why students were forced to travel overnight. Sandra Green, a parent of a student at Coronado High School, said she fought to have her child’s team drive home Sunday during the day, not Saturday night.

“They listened to me when it came to the 6A track team I guess, but nobody said anything for the 5A, no one said anything,” Green said. “They still put them on the road.”

EPISD Spokeswoman Melissa Martinez said since that crash, students still travel overnight. However, the district has put new guidelines in place. They state that drivers must avoid two lane roads, like State Highway 180, and use four lane highways whenever possible. If a two lane road is a must, then it can only be driven on during the day. Which means other accommodations will need to be made, such as having the students stay in a hotel.

EPISD Board President Trent Hatch said they also take weather into consideration before heading out on the road.

“Is it appropriate, is it safe for them to come back,” Hatch said.

Alex Duran, the brother of Archie Duran, told ABC-7 his family is against overnight travel. However, “This year for the regional track meet…student athletes and coaches stayed overnight. So we feel that’s definitely a step in the right direction,” he said.

Martinez said if parents or students have any concerns, let the coach know. She said very rarely has a team been denied an overnight stay if there is a safety issue.

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