Tragedy struck the community of Iraan about an hour after the Braves won their Regional Finals playoff game against Munday qualifying for the state semifinals for the first time in 20 years. The game was played in Colorado City where the Braves won the game 40-12 over the Moguls.
The Iraan Cheer squad was heading back home when their small bus was struck by an eighteen-wheeler on Interstate 20 about a mile west of Big Spring. The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that the 2007 eighteen-wheeler was traveling eastbound on Interstate 20 when the accident occurred at 10:46 on Friday night.
According to the report, the driver of a tractor-trailer tried to avoid a car that braked in front of him causing the driver of the eighteen-wheeler to lose control straying across the median into the westbound lanes of traffic and colliding with the Iraan cheerleader bus.
Christina Garlock, the head Cheerleader Sponsor, was driving the bus with six girls on-board along with her sister, Elizabeth Pope, 52, an Iraan-Sheffield ISD teacher, also a sponsor of the high school cheerleading squad. Ms. Pope was killed in the accident.
Several of the cheerleaders in the bus sustained injuries, but Superintendent Kevin Allen told the media that, “the six are in good condition, with no major injuries."
Garlock is still being treated at a Lubbock hospital for several injures including broken bones and was listed in serious condition.
It took rescuers with hydraulic tools over an hour to remove her from the bus. School officials said she was suspected to have sustained multiple fractures.
Superintendent Allen said classes will continue this week as the district will have normal school hours; however the main focus will be promoting grieving and healing. The District plan is to bring in counselors from other schools to help students recover after this unexpected loss.
"We will have grievance counselors available, with small group and for individuals, and I've contacted Region-18, and they're getting counselors from other schools to come in so we can cover this," Allen told the media.
Iraan Cheerleader Alumna and current cheer-coach Starla Warren created a Facebook page, “BRAVE Strong Cheerleaders,” in an attempt to rally support for the team.
An account has been opened at Brave National Bank called Pray for Iraan Benefit Fund. The donations will go to help those injured in the wreck and Pope’s family.
The account information is as follows:
Pray for Iraan Benefit Fund-Fund #230173
Brave National Bank
P.O. Box 577
Iraan, TX 79744
If you would like to wire money or have any questions about the fund, please call Brave National Bank at 432-639-2543. They are open 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00-6:00 on Friday.
The Iraan Braves will play Wellington in the Class 2A DII State Semi-final game at 7:00 p.m., Friday December 9, Abilene's Shotwell Stadium.