Church Bus Flips in Mississippi; Killing 1, Injuring 23
A church bus carrying a church youth group from Louisiana to Georgia flipped Sunday July 12 at around 10:20 a.m., killing one and injuring 23. The accident took place on Interstate 20 near Meridian, Mississippi. The Lauderdale county coroner, Clayton Cobler III, reports that a rear tire blowout caused the bus to flip three times before landing on its side and trapping passengers underneath. A group of National Guard soldiers were traveling on I-20 when the accident occurred and helped extricate the injured. They also managed to lift the bus up off the two people trapped underneath and get them out.
While some sources report the deceased to be an 18-year-old male, the Shreveport Times reports that he is 14-years-old. The young man was pronounced dead at Jeff Anderson Hospital. Passenger injuries range from severe pelvic, back and chest injuries to minimal scrapes and scratches. Sources report that three passengers were airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, while 13 were taken to Rush Foundation Hospital and six were taken to Regency Hospital of Meridian. Many of those injured were released from the hospital late Sunday.
The bus left the Shreveport, Louisiana church at 4:45 a.m. The youth group was traveling to Macon, Georgia to attend a week-long Christian youth camp called Passport, which is held at Mercer University. At the time of the accident, the bus was two miles west of the Alabama state line. The rollover happened near the visitor center. The First Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana learned of the accident shortly before they began their Sunday morning worship. Dr. Greg Hunt, senior pastor of First Baptist, expressed appreciation for the heroic actions and support of those involved. The congregation is pulling together to overcome this unfortunate tragedy.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a church bus has been involved in an accident. In Texas, a fatal church bus accident was also caused by a tire blowout.