STATESVILLE, N.C. - Victims of the deadly crash involving a Statesville church bus, an SUV and a tractor-trailer in east Tennessee are continuing to recover at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Family members have been in and out of the hospital visiting the surviving members of the Front Street Baptist Church group who were returning from a trip to Gatlinburg when a tire on their bus failed, causing the bus to careen across the Interstate 40 median in Jefferson County, Tenn., slamming into an SUV and then into a tractor-trailer. Eight people died, including six from the church, a passenger in the SUV and the tractor-trailer driver.
Eleven church members who were on the bus remain hospitalized. Officials said one of the survivors has been discharged but that person’s name was not released.
The Red Cross is helping the victims and their families by giving the families a place to stay and providing them with counselors.
Two pastors from the Statesville church are also at the hospital to help the families and those recovering. The hospital’s pastoral group is working with them as well.
Senior Pastor Tim Stutts said the loss will leave the church forever change, but despite the grief, their faith is strong.
“In the midst of this tragedy, in the midst of our loss, we can grieve over what we will miss but we will rejoice them. So it will be very difficult in the days ahead and months and weeks, years ahead,” he said.
The church is planning to release biographies of each of the members killed in the crash. Eyewitness News will have more on this story as it develops.
For anyone wishing to donate online to the Front Street Baptist Family Support Fund please click here.
For updates on victim's conditions from the church, click here.
Church Bus Fatalities
- Cloyce Matheny (M), 95, Statesville, N.C.
- Brenda Smith, 69, Statesville, N.C.
- Marsha Mclelland, 62, Statesville, N.C. (wife of injured Ed Mclelland)
- Barbara Morrison, 66, Statesville, N.C. (wife of Randy Morrison)
- Randy Morrison (Driver), 66, Statesville, N.C. (husband of Barbara Morrison)
- John Wright, 73, Mocksville, N.C.
Church Bus Injuries/Conditions
- Thomas L. Smith, 74, Statesville, N.C. SERIOUS
- Joanna L. Elledge, 70, Statesville, N.C. CRITICAL
- Benny Elledge, 72, Statesville, N.C. SERIOUS
- Sandra Boyer, 67, Statesville, N.C. CRITICAL
- Marvin Boyer, 74, Statesville, N.C. STABLE
- Doris Swaim, 68, Statesville, N.C. STABLE
- Steven Swaim, 68, Statesville, N.C. STABLE
- Norma J. Hellard, 78, Statesville, N.C. SERIOUS
- Beverly Wright, 62, Mocksville, N.C. SERIOUS
- Brenda Jolly, 70, Statesville, N.C. STABLE
- Wanda Martin, 63, Statesville, N.C. STABLE
- Ed Mclelland, 64, Statesville, N.C. (husband of deceased Marsha Mclelland) SERIOUS
Chevrolet Tahoe Injuries
- Trent Roberts (rear passenger), 24, Knoxville, Tenn.
Chevrolet Tahoe Injuries
- Tim Wacker (front passenger), 28, Knoxville, Tenn. DISCHARGED
- Jordan D. Payne (M) (Driver), 24, Knoxville, Tenn. DISCHARGED
Tractor Trailer Fatality
- Mose Farmer, 66, New Orleans, La.