DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — It could take a couple of days to identify some of the eight people killed in a fiery bus crash in Tennessee because some of the victims were so badly burned, the highway patrol said Thursday.
Sgt. Bill Miller said a forensic team expected to use dental records to identify some victims.
A North Carolina church bus blew a tire while traveling home on Interstate 40 on Wednesday, veered across a highway median and crashed into a sport utility vehicle and tractor-trailer. Fourteen people were injured in the crash.
It was still unclear Thursday morning who had been driving the bus, Miller said, but investigators planned to look into the driver and the vehicle’s safety records.
One of the dead was identified as 73-year-old John Wright, said his brother Jerry Wright. Jerry Wright said his nephew called him Thursday morning to tell him his brother was dead; his brother’s wife was seriously hurt in the crash. He said his brother was sitting with his wife when the accident occurred; he had initially believed his brother may have been driving the bus but said Thursday he was a passenger along with his wife.
His brother had been a member of the church for 50 years and had been a deacon, he added. “My brother was a good man. Everybody loved him,” Wright said.
Also Thursday, Daniel Morrison told The Associated Press that his parents, Randolph and Barbara Morrison, both 66, had been killed.
“I’m still processing it,” said Daniel Morrison, one of the couple’s five children, shaking his head. He said both had looked forward to the church outing as a big annual trip, adding they had put a lot into their church.
A tight-knit group of seniors at the church was on its annual road trip, following a tradition for members of the Young at Heart Ministry to attend the Fall Jubilee in Gatlinburg, Tenn., which features gospel singers and speakers. The event’s website described the gathering as “three days of singing, laughing and preaching” for “mature and senior believers.”