A first responder, who was on the scene of a deadly church bus crash in Tennessee, says injured church members were 'selfless' after the wreck - more concerned with others, than their own injuries. PowerfulMore >>
A first responder, who was on the scene of a deadly church bus crash in Tennessee, says injured church members were 'selfless' after the wreck - more concerned with others, than their own injuries.More >>
Hannah Gilliland has been a member of Front Street Baptist Church since she was three days old. She came to the church to join her fellow church goers in prayer. On Thursday, a church bus from FrontMore >>
Hannah Gilliland has been a member of Front Street Baptist Church since she was three days old.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 8:13 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:13:32 GMT
Photo of armed robbery suspect (Source: University of South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement and Safety
A USC student was robbed at gunpoint early Thursday morning, according to the University of South Carolina Police Department. The student was walking through the USC Horseshow around 12:40 a.m. when heMore >>
A USC student was robbed at gunpoint early Thursday morning, according to the University of South Carolina Police Department.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 12:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:42:01 GMT
Elgin police need help locating two men who they say broke into a car wash in the area and stole money from the control boxes. Investigators say the suspects broke into the Elgin Car Wash on Rose StreetMore >>
Elgin police need help locating two men who they say broke into a car wash in the area and stole money from the control boxes.More >>
KNOXVILLE, TN (WBTV/WVLT) -
The Tennessee Highway Patrol has identified seven of the eight people killed in a fiery bus crash on Interstate 40 on Wednesday.
Six of the dead were members of the Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C. They include the bus driver, Randy Morrison, and his wife, Barbara Morrison.
Other victims from the church are Cloyce Matheny, Brenda Smith, Marsha McLelland and John Wright. All are from Statesville except Wright, who is from Mocksville.
The highway patrol also released the list of church members who were injured in the wreck.
74-year-old Thomas L. Smith
70-year-old Joanna L. Elledge
72-year-old Benny Elledge
67-year-old Sandra Boyer
74-year-old Marvin Boyer
68-year-old Doris Swaim
68-year-old Steven Swaim
78-year-old Norma J. Hellard
62-year-old Beverly Wright
70-year-old Brenda Jolly
63-year-old Wanda Martin
64-year-old Ed Mclelland
One person in the sport utility vehicle, Trent Roberts of Knoxville, was killed. The driver of the tractor-trailer was a New Orleans man.
Officers on Friday identified the man as 66-year-old Mose Farmer, who was operating a 2014 Volvo Tractor Trailer loaded with paper towels and headed for B.A.H. Express out of Calhoun, Ga.
The Highway Patrol said no charges have been filed in the crash.
The Highway Patrol says the bus veered across the median and into oncoming traffic after a tire blew out, hitting a sport utility vehicle and a tractor-trailer, which caught fire.
Troopers said that the wire median barrier was not made to handle the weight of the bus.
No juveniles were involved in the crash but troopers said it's been hard to identify some of the victims due to the nature of the crash.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson said investigators are still on the talking to witnesses and collecting evidence to determine what happened. Right now, they believe the bus driver lost control of the bus after a tire malfunctioned
Troopers said it would be extremely difficult to keep control of the bus if a tire were to malfunction.
"Nothing will be overlooked, we will go over every possible scenario" said Sgt. Bill Miller with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Miller says the bus was owned and operated by Front Street Baptist Church.
"It was not a charter or a leased bus. It was a church-owned bus. They were on an adult outing and senior trip. The driver's history, we can't get into that at this point in time," said Sgt. Miller. "As far as an issues with the bus, any safety issues, prior knowledge of that, that's all under investigation as well."
One of the ministers of Front Street Baptist Church spoke Thursday morning outside of the church in Statesville.
"Six of our loved ones have gone to be with The Lord in Heaven," said Rick Cruz, minister of music. "It's been a very long night for all of us here and this morning we continue to receive information."
Authorities say the bus hit a tractor-trailer and sport utility vehicle. It happened along I-40 westbound at mile marker 423 in Jefferson County, Tenn., just past the I-40/I-81 interchange on Wednesday.
Eighteen people from Front Street Baptist Church were on the bus. They were part of a senior group of church members called "Young at Heart."
There were three people in the SUV that was struck, one of those people died. The eighth victim was the driver of the tractor trailer.
So far, no names have been released as troopers attempt to notify all families involved.
WBTV has learned the Front Street Baptist Church group was headed back to North Carolina from a festival in Gatlinburg, TN.
They were part of the 17th Annual Fall Jubilee at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The jubilee was a three-day event that ended on Wednesday.
Church members began to gather at Front Street Baptist Church on Wednesday evening, shortly after news of the crash broke.
One church member told WBTV that he is trying to cope with the news as they await details. His brother and sister-in-law were on the bus.
"I'm in a state of shock," Jerry Wright said.
Pastor Cruz told WBTV that the congregation was saddened by the news they had heard and that they appreciate all the prayers given.
Fourteen other people were reportedly injured in the crash. Four were airlifted to the hospital, eight people were transported by ambulance and two people were injured but not transported.
Initially, eleven of the patients were taken to UT Medical Center, two are in critical condition and seven are in serious condition and 5 are stable.
Two of those patients were released from the hospital Thursday morning.
The Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau issued a statement following the crash.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-40 East involving a Statesville, NC church group who were on their way home from a conference in Gatlinburg."
Cruz thanked the community Thursday morning for the overwhelming outpouring of support.
"We know that God is in control and we know that he is able to heal even in this difficult time we do rejoice in the fact that 6 of our loved ones are in Heaven with the Lord right now and we know Jesus gave his life for each one of us on the cross so that we may have everlasting life, so that's the hop that we hold onto and that's the truth that we hold onto everyday."
Interstate 40 reopened at the site of the bus crash around 5 a.m. Thursday morning.
There is information about the crash WBTV is still trying to confirm.
Because the bus was used to cross state lines and carried more than 15 people, there are federal regulations that the church has to follow.
The driver of the bus, according to the Department of Transportation, would need to have a commercial driver's license.
At this time, it is not clear if the driver of the church bus had a commercial driver's license.
Other regulations include getting the bus regularly inspected and maintained. Records of this work must be documented.
WBTV has been unable to obtain the bus safety records from the church.
According to troopers, the preliminary investigation has begun, but the official reports would take up to six months.
Anyone with a family member who was involved in the crash can call the American Red Cross at 865-305-5716.
Thursday, August 21 2014 6:19 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:19:24 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Chapter for the NAACP is talking about the Memorial Day weekend violence, outside the Myrtle Beach City Hall Thursday at 10 a.m. Reporter Stephanie Robusto isMore >>
The Myrtle Beach Chapter for the NAACP is talking about the Memorial Day weekend violence, outside the Myrtle Beach City Hall Thursday at 10 a.m.More >>
- Four firefighters with the Campbellsville Fire Department were shocked -- one of them critically -- while helping the Campbellsville University marching band with an ALS ice bucket challenge, according to a spokesmanMore >>
Thursday, August 21 2014 2:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 18:48:33 GMT
In 2012 we introduced you to a little boy named Richard Culliver. At that time, he had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and doctors didn't think he would make it much longer.This May, nearly a yearMore >>
In 2012 we introduced you to a little boy named Richard Culliver. At that time, he had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and doctors didn't think he would make it much longer.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:38:00 GMT
Columbia police are investigating a series of vehicle break-ins throughout the Greenview community. More than 20 break-ins have been reported, specifically during the evening and overnight hours, fromMore >>
Columbia police are investigating a series of vehicle break-ins throughout the Greenview community.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:08:28 GMT
Gov. Nikki Haley and gubernatorial candidates Tom Irvin and state Senator Vincent Sheheen would all like to see independent ethics oversight and stricter penalties for violators. But they each think they'reMore >>
Gov. Nikki Haley and gubernatorial candidates Tom Ervin and state Senator Vincent Sheheen would all like to see independent ethics oversight and stricter penalties for violators. More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:42:10 GMT
In the latest salvo in the ongoing political battle of wills between West Columbia Mayor Joe Owens and Councilman Tem Miles, Owens claims a new campaign sign at Miles' house is racist. The sign, whichMore >>
In the latest salvo in the ongoing political battle of wills between West Columbia Mayor Joe Owens and Councilman Tem Miles, Owens claims a new campaign sign at Miles' house is racist.More >>
Friday, August 22 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:38:02 GMT
Jacoby Latta, 3, was a huge superhero fan and is getting a loving tribute in a new Marvel comic. (Source: Sanford Green)
A Midlands boy who was a huge superhero fan and died suddenly is getting a loving tribute in a new Marvel comic. "Uncanny Avengers" issue #23 will be released next Wednesday and will be available at Columbia-areaMore >>
A Midlands boy who was a huge superhero fan and died suddenly is getting a loving tribute in a new Marvel comic. More >>