Settlement reached in deadly Statesville church bus crash

STATESVILLE, N.C. — Attorneys announced Tuesday morning that they have settled in a lawsuit filed in a deadly church bus crash.

Opening statements in the trial were supposed to begin Tuesday, but at the last second, Hankook Tire Company and attorneys for the families reached an agreement.

Members of Front Street Baptist Church were returning to Statesville from a trip to Tennessee in October 2013 when the bus blew a tire and crashed on I-40 in Jefferson County, Tennessee.

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Six people died in the crash.

Wanda Martin was on that bus when it crashed.

"The memories don't go away, I think about it every day," Martin said. "It ended up on its side so they had to peel the top to get us out."

The families of those who died or who were injured said Hankook should have known the tire design would put people in unreasonable danger.

"Your tires should not totally come apart while driving down the highway and that's what happened here. We had a large, belted, radial bus tire that came apart while this group was driving and it caused all of this," attorney Brandon Peak said.

Hankook released a statement on the settlement saying, "Hankook Tire appreciates the amicable resolution of this matter and notes that the settlement is not an acknowledgement of fault. We send our heartfelt thoughts to everyone affected by this tragedy."

Lisa Cash, who lost her mother in the tragedy, said she hopes this case sends a message to tire companies and saves lives.

"With the engineering they have now, there is no reason they can't make a tire that is safe," Cash said.

The details of the settlement will not be released.

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