Lone Surviving Officer of Prison Bus Crash Tells His Story - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Lone Surviving Officer of Prison Bus Crash Tells His Story

By: Audrey Castoreno
acastoreno@kwes.com

BAIRD: It's been nearly four months since the devastating prison bus crash in Penwell. Two correctional officers and eight offenders were killed after their bus went down an embankment off I-20 then went crashing into a moving train.

Miraculously, four prisoners and one officer survived the crash. That officer, Jason self, is now on the road to recovery.

However for Jason Self, that day and the hours leading up to the devastating accident is a blur.

"I don't remember anything ya know. Then I remember waking up and it's a different surrounding, a room. About that time is when I started asking what was going on?

I was in a wreck... I was in a bus wreck going to El Paso.

I asked about Jr and Chris.

Well they're ok. They're at the other end of the hospital they're getting better too.

Ok...ok.

Because they didn't want to stress me out. Because I was at the point to where it could be bad. They let that ride for a while," Texas Department of Criminal Justice Officer, Jason Self said.

Some time later when self began to improve. His family broke the news of the outcome of his two co-workers, "Jr" Garcia and Chris Davis.

"And that's when they told me. They didn't make, it they died... Then it came out what had happened. Well I just didn't know what to do with that," said Self.

Self continued to struggle to grasp the idea that "JR" and Chris were dead. Eventually he was told what had happened and was shown images.

"I saw a glimpse of the bus and it was just a mess. And that's when it sank in. Wow this was a bad wreck! Ya know. i'm still trying to grasp that because I can't remember anything," said Self.

Physical scars and injuries a continued reminder of those images of that tragic day.

"You don't need physical scars to remind me. Every time I close my eyes I see Chris and "Jr" but it will get better," said Self.

Self continuing to deal with the idea that he was one of the lucky ones to be able to walk away.

"Emotionally it's pretty hard...ya know for me. I feel kind of guilty. I guess because I'm sitting here doing this, and of course they're not," said Self.

A second lease on life. One that he intends to live to the fullest.

"I know that this incident, for them and for everybody involved I'm going to try to be a better person. Ya know for them.... for my wife. Just more appreciative. More take nothing for granted. Ya know? Just appreciate the small things," said Self.

Lastly a message for all those well wishes and kind words that have seen him through this difficult time of recovery.

"Thank you. It's an amazing feeling to know you're not alone," said Self.

Self still has a long road to recovery with another surgery scheduled and more physical therapy. NewsWest 9 tried to reach out to an offenders who also survived the crash. However, the TDCJ did not allow the interview because he is being held in a medical unit.

NewsWest 9 did also try to get an update from TDCJ. They could not comment because they are currently involved in litigation with some of the offenders families. You will recall however, that the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report did state that a displaced piece of guardrail was likely the cause to the bus accident.

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