A church bus from Statesville, N.C., blew a tire, veered across a highway median and hit a sport utility vehicle and tractor-trailer Wednesday in a deadly crash on a Tennessee interstate Wednesday afternoon.
Eight people were killed and 14 more were hurt. All but two were taken to hospitals, state Department of Safety and Homeland Security spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said in an email. The extent of their injuries was not immediately available.
The Statesville Record and Landmark reported that the bus had senior adults on it, and that six of those killed were on the bus.
Dionne Stutts, wife of Front Street Baptist senior pastor Tim Stutts, told the Associated Press the bus was carrying a senior adult group who was on the way home from a trip to Gatlinburg.
She said her husband and another pastor from the church were en route to the wreck.
"They had been there and they were on their way home today," she said. "We are devastated and just ask for the people to be praying."
Susan Wyatt, a spokeswoman for the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said all of the injured were adults. Four were flown to the emergency room.
Qualls said 18 people were on the bus and six of them were killed. One person among the three in the SUV was killed and the tractor-trailer driver also died.
The bus crossed the median in Jefferson County about 2 p.m. It clipped the oncoming SUV and slammed into the tractor-trailer, which burst into flames. The bus, which was heading east, overturned.
The accident shut down Interstate 40 in Jefferson County.