Monday, January 17, 2005


Please pray for the members of our former church home, Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, TX. A Suburban carrying junior high students from the Metroplex to Abilene flipped Sunday afternoon, killing one and injuring seven. Here is the article from the Abilene newspaper:

A Suburban carrying a group of Highland Church of Christ youths overturned Sunday afternoon on Interstate 20 east of Baird, killing one child and injuring several others.

Brody Bourland, 10, of Abilene, was declared dead at the scene, according to the Department of Public Safety in Abilene. The other seven occupants of the vehicle, all from Abilene, were injured and taken to various hospitals.

The group was returning from a church retreat in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

According to the DPS, the accident occurred at 2:45 p.m. as the group was heading west on I-20 about 1.5 miles west of Putnam in Callahan County. They were in a 2004 GMC Suburban, driven by Julie Folwell, 49, of Abilene.

The Suburban apparently drifted into the center median, then overcorrected to the right, causing the vehicle to skid sideways before rolling over onto its top, a DPS spokeswoman said. Each occupant of the vehicle was wearing a seat belt, she said.

The DPS reported that two of the children were flown by helicopter to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. They are Jon Westin Bennett and Austin Lemmons, both 11. Bennett was listed in stable condition with two broken legs, and Lemmons was listed in serious condition with internal injuries but said to be doing well.

The remaining occupants of the vehicle were taken to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. They are Chris Cope, 12; Beth Johnston, 14; Amara Childers, 14; Chris Perkins, 12; and Folwell, the DPS reported.

Chris Cope was later transferred to Cook Children's Medical Center, where he was in stable condition Sunday night, said Stormy Higgins, a church member.

Folwell had a broken vertebra and was transferred from Hendrick to Covenant Health System in Lubbock, Higgins said. A Hendrick spokeswoman said Folwell was in stable condition Sunday night before being transferred.

Perkins and Johnston were later released from Hendrick, and Childers underwent surgery for a bone fracture, the hospital spokeswoman said.

The accident remains under investigation.

On Sunday evening, the church held a vigil, attended by about 500 people, and provided counseling for affected people, such as church youth traveling in a second Suburban who witnessed the accident, Higgins said.

Higgins, an Abilene city councilman, described the vigil as ''overwhelmingly emotional,'' adding that ''this is not what (church members) got up this morning expecting.''

Counseling was provided by Jackie Halstead, a church member who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She said it was amazing to hear the children of the church pray about it during counseling.

''There's a lot of tears, and I'm sure there will be some nightmares,'' she said.

She and other counselors will hold several more sessions this week to help those affected, she said.

Brody Bourland was a student at Franklin Middle School. Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements.

He is survived by his parents, Brett and Jennifer Bourland, and brothers Taylor Hill, 17, and Brock Bourland, 7.


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