On Tuesday, the newly widowed mother of four was found dead in her home in New Braunfels, Tex. Barrett, 55, was alone at the time of her death, and detectives at the scene determined there were no signs of foul play, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Her death means yet another funeral and another wave of anguish for a family and a community still recovering from the March 29 bus crash that killed all but one of the 14 passengers from First Baptist Church of New Braunfels. Barrett’s husband, retired teacher Murray Barrett, 67, was driving the bus, returning from a three-day retreat in southwestern Texas, when a pickup truck veered into its lane, striking it head-on.
On Tuesday, court records revealed that the truck’s driver, Jack Dillon Young, 20, had taken prescription pills — two pills of Clonazepam and the generic forms of the prescription drugs Ambien and Lexapro — and was in possession of marijuana at the time of the crash. A state trooper said in a sworn statement he had probable cause to believe Young was intoxicated.
The court records also supported previous witness accounts that Young was texting when he collided with the bus. Calls to 911 and videos captured by witnesses showed that nearly 20 minutes before the crash, Young was driving erratically on the highway, The Washington Post’s Kristine Phillips reported. “He’s all over the road, both sides,” one caller said. “He’s going to hit somebody head-on, or he’s going to kill his own damn self.”
Young has not been charged. Local prosecutors have indicated that no charging decision will be made until the investigation is complete, within the next two weeks, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Though Dianne Barrett was not among the bus passengers on the day of the crash, she was an active member of their church — serving as a ministry assistant.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dianne Barrett,” the church said in an email to the San Antonio Express-News. “We continue to pray for our Lord’s mercy and comfort for our church family members who continue to grieve.”
Dianne and Murray Barrett met at Texas State University and were married for 32 years. Dianne Barrett’s career in the U.S. Air Force took the couple and their four children — Matthew, Jennifer, Russell and Cassandra — all around the country before they settled in New Braunfels 15 years ago, according to an obituary for Murray Barrett. All of the children are now adults in their 20s and 30s.
Jennifer Barrett, who goes as Jenn, wrote a raw blog post about the sudden loss of both her parents, which “doesn’t make any sense right now.”
“If mom was going to die, why not just have her on the bus two weeks ago?” she wrote. “Why put mom through the pain of grieving the loss of Dad just to have her join him 13 days later?
“Today was a day of tears, and there will no doubt be more to come in the weeks that follow,” she added.
In the coming days, Jenn wrote, “I will write another obituary, we will process another cremation, and we will make another slide show. We will order another set of flowers and each of us will give another speech at another memorial.
“Then there will be the week of stillness,” she wrote, the “week where reality sets in because both of my parents are gone and my life will never be the same.”
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