8 Members of Statesville Church Group Killed in Tennessee Bus Crash
For months, a tight-knit group of seniors from the Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville had been looking forward to the road trip.
It was a tradition for them to attend the annual Fall Jubilee in Gatlinburg, Tenn., a three-day event featuring gospel singers and speakers.
But on the way back to Statesville yesterday, the church bus carrying the members blew a tire, veered across a highway median and crashed into a sport utility vehicle and tractor-trailer in a fiery wreck that killed eight people.
Fourteen other people were hurt in the accident in northeastern Tennessee, including two who were in critical condition.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security said the chartered bus crossed the median on Interstate 40 in Jefferson County about 2 PM Wednesday. The bus clipped an oncoming SUV and hit the tractor-trailer, which burst into flames. The bus, which was eastbound, overturned.
A report from WBTV in Knoxville says the pastor of the Front Street Baptist Church is expected to give a statement this morning. Early this morning, the church's website was offline, with this notice: "Our site is currently unavailable. Please bookmark this page and check back soon!"
The church's Facebook page, however, carries this message: "Thank you all for praying for our church family. We still don't have all the details but we do know that we have several senior adults in critical condition. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY. We know that God is in control and we need His comfort and peace. He is faithful!!"