UPDATE: 8 Reported Killed In Tennessee Bus Crash

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Officials in northeastern Tennessee say a bus taking a church group home to North Carolina blew a tire, crossed a median, clipped a SUV and slammed into a tractor-trailer, which burst into flames.

The fiery crash killed eight people and left 14 injured, including two who were critically injured. The accident shut down a section of Interstate 40 for a while and smoke lingered for hours.

The bus was carrying members of the Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C., which is about 140 miles east of the crash site.

The group of seniors, known as Young at Heart, had been visiting an annual Fall Jubilee in Gatlinburg, Tenn., which features gospel singers and speakers.

A vigil was held at the church Wednesday night. One man who knew all the victims said everyone was shaken. A minister calls this "a difficult time."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: Authorities say a tire on a church bus blew out and the bus hit a tractor-trailer and sport utility vehicle in northeastern Tennessee, killing eight people.

The state Department of Safety and Homeland Security said the chartered bus crossed the median in Jefferson County about 2 p.m. Wednesday on Interstate 40. The bus clipped an oncoming SUV and hit the tractor-trailer, which burst into flames. The bus, which was heading eastbound, overturned.

The agency said 14 people were hurt.

The accident has shut down Interstate 40 in Jefferson County.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt said it was a church bus, did he did not know name.

Previous story:

A spokeswoman for Tennessee's Safety Department says there are multiple fatalities and injuries in an interstate bus crash between a passenger bus, a tractor-trailer and another vehicle.

Spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said in an email 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.

Qualls does not yet know the number of injured and dead.

The accident has shut down Interstate 40 in Jefferson County.

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