6 victims of Irving bus crash remain in intensive care

Posted Friday, Apr. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Blood donors needed

Carter BloodCare is seeking blood donations, saying supplies were low before the bus crash Thursday that injured 41 people.

"It would be great to help replenish the supplies. We were already at less than preferred levels," Yesenia Olide said.

Carter BloodCare supplies 90 percent of blood products in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is the sole provider for Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where 15 of the injured were taken.

All blood types are needed, but the agency is especially seeking 200 O negative blood donors daily for the next two weeks, she said.

"When a trauma victim comes into the hospital, they don't have time to [blood] type them right away," Olide said. "O negative is what they're going to get because that is compatible with most blood types."

To donate, contact Carter BloodCare at 800-366-2834 or www.carterbloodcare.org.

Passenger information

Relatives seeking information about bus passengers can call 972-721-4636.

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For Sue Taylor and Paula Hahn, retirement didn't mean rocking chairs.

After working for many years with the Tarrant County tax assessor's office, "Casino Sue" Taylor started taking trips to casinos in Oklahoma, enjoying it so much that she started organizing outings for friends.

"She really enjoyed it," said a daughter, Pam Boynes, who lives in Florida and arrived in North Texas on Friday morning. "There are retirement homes and nursing homes all over Fort Worth or Arlington where people have known her for years."

Paula Hahn, who retired in January 2011 after 21 years with the Fort Worth water department, would make frequent trips to Choctaw and WinStar casinos, sometimes on group excursions and other times driving herself with family or friends.

"She loved to go to the casinos. She loved playing bingo," said Hahn's sister-in-law, Paula Booth. "She hit a $500 [jackpot] in a tournament at WinStar back in the fall. That made her real happy."

Thursday morning, the two women and 44 other passengers were headed to Choctaw on one of Taylor's organized trips when the chartered bus they were riding in veered off of Texas 161 in Irving, flipping on its side. The crash killed both women and injured 41 other people.

12 remain at Parkland

Six patients from the crash remained in intensive care Friday at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Doctors said they expected at least four of those patients to show improvements later in the day.

In all, 12 of the 15 patients who arrived Thursday at Parkland with multiple injuries remained hospitalized with injuries "consistent with what you would expect from a motor vehicle crash without seat belts," said Dr. Alex Eastman, interim trauma medical director.

"I told each one of them this morning that I am committed to getting them back on the road up north so they can start rolling some 7s again really soon," Eastman said.

More than 500 hospital personnel from all departments responded to help the patients, who ranged in age from 66 to 80.

Other patients with less serious injuries were treated at other hospitals in Irving and Dallas.

Sgt. Lonny Haschel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday that the investigation of the cause of the crash was ongoing. The inquiry will be "very lengthy" and the accident report will likely not be complete for up to a week, he said.

'A little firecracker'

Friends and family say Taylor had been organizing the casino trips for about 10 years.

"She was a little firecracker," said Ken Hester, Taylor's friend and neighbor. "She loved to get a busload of people and go to the casinos."

Taylor previously had an agreement with WinStar Casino in which she was paid for bringing people up there.

After she lost that arrangement, friend Joyce Froberg said, Taylor started her organizing her own trips.

"She was always saying about life: 'It's going too fast. It's going too fast,'" Froberg said.

Boynes said she wasn't sure how her mother got her nickname but speculated that her mother might have been the first to say it.

"Whenever you go on a trip with her she'd give you a tag that said 'Casino Sue's trip,'" she said. "I have one hanging at home that I kept from a trip."

For a time, Taylor organized a trip every week but lately it was more like twice a month, Boynes said.

Boynes said her mother worked hard to make the trips fun. She brought along games, lottery tickets and candies for the passengers. They dressed up for Halloween. She also awarded a gag gift to the "biggest loser" -- whoever lost the most money at the casino.

Though slots were Taylor's favorite game, she also liked the camaraderie, Boynes said.

Thursday was the first time that Taylor used Cardinal Coach lines, Hester said. He said she choose the bus line because of its clean record.

Boynes said she learned about the crash from a friend who saw news about it on television. The friend knew that her mother was taking a bus trip.

"I turned it on and I knew it was one of her buses," she said. "When we heard that it left from a grocery store in Hurst, we knew it was her bus."

But Boynes said confirmation of her mother's death did not come until much later. The delay was difficult, she said.

"I was at work beating on a computer, looking at pictures, 'Tell me where my mom is!'" she said.

Boynes said her mother had so many friends that the family may need a large venue to hold funeral services.

"She was adorable. She was sharp," she said. "She was in good health and she should have been around a lot longer."

'A very sweet lady'

Hahn, family members say, was a mother of four and a great-grandmother who loved spending time with her family.

"She was a very sweet lady, would do anything for anybody," Booth said.

Booth said she finds comfort that Hahn can now be reunited with her second husband, Tom, who had died of a heart attack within a year of their marriage, as well as with a brother who died about a year ago of cancer.

News of Hahn's death stunned those at the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility, where Hahn had worked for more than two decades before retiring.

"She was a delightful lady. She was always happy," remembered Sebastian Fichera, assistant water director at the plant.

"She had a great attitude about work and life in general. She liked to have a good time. She was a fun lady to be around."

Fichera said Hahn ran a tight financial ship as part of the warehouse's support staff, making sure bills got paid and accounts balanced out.

"She was very close to everybody out there. Everybody knew her," he said.

"She kept us straight. She wouldn't let us get off track. She kept everything very organized. It was a loss when she retired. This makes it even worse."

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620

Twitter: @fwstevans

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