October 3, 2013

Victims in Tenn. bus crash belonged to tightknit church group

Eight are dead and 14 other people are injured in the accident, including two in critical condition.

The Associated Press

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Emergency workers respond to a crash involving a passenger bus and a tractor-trailer near Dandridge, Tenn., on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Tennessee’s Safety Department said the bus was traveling in northeast Tennessee when it crossed the median and struck the other two vehicles. The tractor-trailer caught fire and the bus overturned.

The Associated Press

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In this aerial photo, emergency workers respond to a crash involving a passenger bus, a tractor-trailer and an SUV near Dandridge, Tenn., on Wednesday. Authorities said the bus, carrying members of a North Carolina church group, veered across the highway median and crashed into the other vehicles in a fiery wreck that killed eight people.

The Associated Press

Additional Photos Below

The interstate was completely shut down in both directions, and the scene was eerily quiet, despite the presence of many emergency workers.“This is an extremely horrific event,” Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Bill Miller said at an evening news conference.

He said authorities don’t know yet what caused the tire to blow out.

The injured were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Late Wednesday, center spokesman Jim Ragonese said 14 people from the crash were being treated at the hospital. He said two were in critical condition, seven in serious condition, and five in stable condition.

State Department of Safety and Homeland Security spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said in an email 18 people were on the bus and six of them were killed. One person among the three in the SUV was killed and the tractor-trailer driver also died.

Qualls said Thursday that all lanes of the interstate had reopened by 5:15 a.m.

Brady Johnson, superintendent of the Iredell County-Statesville City Schools, said a lot of people who work for the school system are church members. Johnson said he knew people on the bus and they were awaiting word on the conditions.

Johnson said the church had adopted N.B. Mills Elementary School, providing volunteers and school supplies for needy children.

Now, the school system is offering a high school auditorium as a site for a memorial.

“It hits the community as a whole when tragedy strikes. The whole community comes together,” he said.

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Additional Photos

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Emergency personnel search the scene near a collision involving a bus on I-40, in Dandridge, Tenn, on Wednesday.

The Associated Press

  


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