A church bus that malfunctioned and was unable to stop at a traffic light crashed into several vehicles, resulting in the death of the passenger of one of those cars and multiple injuries. The accident occurred in the early evening in Knoxville, Tennessee.
A bus belonging to the Berea Christian Church of Brazil Indiana at just left Lost Sheep ministries, where students from the church had been handing out food to those in need. Moments after leaving the charitable organization, the bus left to drive to East Tennessee for a conference at Johnson University. The bus malfunctioned at the intersection of North Broadway and Oglewood Avenue and was unable to stop at a red light. It drove into a Kia Rio on Broadway and a Chevy pickup truck before finally coming to a stop in the parking lot of a CVS drug store. The driver of the Kia was killed and the driver and passenger of the Chevy pickup truck were injured and sent to the hospital. Another pickup truck was also involved in the accident but only received minor damage, and fie people who had been onboard the bus were also taken to the hospital. The bus driver, James Williams was taken for mandatory blood tests.
Police on the scene indicated that the Knoxville woman who had been driving the Kia died because she was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Police stated that the driver had latched her seat belt in order to disarm the “seat belt reminder alarm” and was sitting on the buckled belt, leaving herself completely unrestrained. According to Darrell DeBusk of the Knoxville Police Department, the damage to the car was largely on the passenger side of her vehicle and she likely would have avoided any injuries had she been properly belted. Similarly, the passenger of the Chevy pickup was also not wearing a belt and remained hospitalized, while the driver of the truck – who was belted in – was released.
The Knoxville Police Department will be conducting an investigation and submitting its results to the district attorney’s office in order to determine whether any charges should be filed. “Whether it was an accident or not we will forward it to the DA’s office for their review. They will take the investigative file and review it and determine if there will be any charges filed at this time,” said Debusk.