- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 2013

Eight people were killed in Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon after a church bus blew a tire, veered across a highway median and crashed into two other vehicles, authorities said.

The bus was carrying members of the group Young at Heart of the Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C., who were traveling home from the 17th annual Fall Jubilee in Gatlinburg, Tenn., The Associated Press reported. Fourteen others were in injured in the accident, and eight were in critical condition, the report said.

Dalya Qualls, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, said 18 people were on the bus and six of them were killed. One person among three in an SUV was killed, and the driver of a tractor-trailer also died, AP reported.

None of the victims has been identified.

A service at Front Street Baptist Church was scheduled for Wednesday night.

George Stadfeld, who has been a member of the church for eight years, told AP that he knew everyone on the bus.

“We’re all shaken,” he said. “As bad as it is, they’re all Christians, and I know where they’re at. I’ll join them later.”

After the accident, a banner was posted on top of the Fall Jubilee website saying, “Our thoughts are with our friends at Front Street Baptist Church in their tragic loss. … all the Jubilee team have you in our prayers.”

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