Students mourn lost classmates
An investigation continues into the May 24 car-train collision that killed nine-year-old Monterious Hancox, eightyear old Ahkeem Williams and Ki’ade Hancox, 4, and injured their guardian.
State Trooper Er ik Gaston, investigating officer, told The Reporter this week there is no law requiring persons to be buckled in vehicles on private property.
Gaston said the boys were not using their seat belts and were thrown from the vehicle.
The driver, Terrilyn Williams, 40, of Rockdale, who was buckled in, continues to recuperate from broken bones and a blood clot.
Williams is expected to be at Saturday’s funeral, which had been delayed until she was able to attend.
The collision, at 3:38 p.m. on the Union Pacific tracks, was on a private railroad crossing leading to the Carroll and Sandy Glaser residence.
Gaston said the train’s operator, 49- year-old Gary Langlainas of Boerne, said he blew the Union Pacific freight train’s horn while approaching the crossing, which does not have lights or signal arms.
“I’ve also been told the train did not blow its horn,” Gaston said.
The private crossing is only a few feet from US 79.
The 2006 Dodge Charger was struck in the driver’s side rear quarter panel by the eastbound freight which then came to rest several hundred feet down the tracks.
“That family has worked for us for 35 years. We are very close,” she said.
Williams was the caregiver for all three boys. Last year she adopted Ahkeem who is a nephew.
She had recently been granted temporary custody of the Hancox boys who are the children of a cousin.
The family attended New Hope Baptist Church where Ahkeem was a youth usher.
The two second graders played on the Texans football team together and were involved in other youth sports.
They had recently completed qualifications for a major physical fitness award at Rockdale Elementary School.
Ahkeem and Monterious had roles in the second grade’s American History play, one that was to have been staged three days after the triple tragedy.
The play was cancelled.
It’s been a week like no other this year, or any year, at Rockdale Elementary School.
“Both Ahkeem and Monterious were extremely well liked,” Principal Robin Faulkner said.
“Monterious was one of those children who was everybody’s friend immediately, good-natured with a great big smile on his face all the time,” she said.
“And Ahkeem was a born leader,” she said. “You could tell that already.”
The elementary’s largest message board was converted into a makeshift shrine to the two second graders.
It bears class and athletic photos, scores of hand-written messages and hundreds of names.
The notes, alternately touching and heart-breaking, include:
• “The hole school is hurting.”
• “I hope that you are okay and that you are in hevin.”
• “Monterious was my best friend.”
• “I will rilly rilly miss you.” • “If I had a wish it would be to bring you back to life.”
Faulkner said both the boys’ teachers, Pam Hammett (Monterious) and Kim Suits (Ahkeem) reported touching moments in the classroom since the deaths.
“Mrs. Hammett said her students, unprompted, have been taking turns sitting in Monterious’s empty desk,” Faulkner said.
The school held a fire drill and Suits noticed a hesitation as her students got up to file outside.
“Ahkeem was their fire drill leader,” Faulkner said. “They were waiting for him.”