News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 17, 2014

Brazil church group in bus crash

Some injuries to youth group; driver of car killed

The Tribune-Star

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — One person is dead after a four-vehicle crash Thursday afternoon in Knoxville, Tenn., involving a church bus from Brazil.

None of the 18 people on the bus from the Berea Christian Church was seriously injured. The person killed was the driver of a car, Knoxville police said.

The bus ran a red light, police said, and struck two vehicles, including a Kia Rio whose female driver, the car’s only occupant, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the Kia’s driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. “The proper use of the seat belt would have made a difference in the crash as the damage to the vehicle was mainly contained to the passenger side.”

A Brazil youth on the bus, in a Facebook post, wrote, “Thank you god I’m still alive ....” The youth, according to his later posts, stated he suffered two broken ribs and a cut to his liver “which doctors said would heal, no problem. And an overnight stay in the hospital.”

The bus driver, identified by police as James Williams, 40, of Brazil, told police the brakes on the 2001 GMC Bluebird Bus failed, causing him to run the red light. The bus then struck the Kia, whose driver has not yet been identified pending notification of family, and then a Chevrolet S10 pickup.

The bus continued through the intersection and onto the property of a CVS pharmacy where it struck a sign and then came to a stop.

The driver of the S10 was not injured, but a passenger in the pickup was taken to a hospital with “possible serious injuries,” according to the news release, which was provided by the Knoxville News Sentinel newspaper to the Tribune-Star. That passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, police said, but the driver was.

The Kia, after being hit by the bus, also struck a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that was waiting to leave the CVS parking area. The driver was not injured.

Williams, the bus driver, was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for a blood draw, which is required by state law, according to police. Three adults on the bus were taken to Tennova (St. Mary’s) Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Two youths on the bus were taken to Children’s Hospital, also for treatment of minor injuries. The bus driver was not hurt.

Members of the Brazil church, 1995 W. County Road 800 North, were in Knoxville on a mission trip connected with Johnson University, according to the report.