Pastor among 4 dead in Ga. church van crash
BLAKELY, Ga. — A coroner says the pastor of a Georgia church is among four people killed when all 19 occupants where thrown from a church van that flipped after a tire blew.
Early County coroner Todd Hunter told The Associated Press on Monday that the dead include 35-year-old R.D. Williams, pastor of the Tabernacle of Prayer and Deliverance in Columbus.
The Georgia State Patrol says 15 other people were injured when they were ejected as the van flipped multiple times Sunday night on a southwest Georgia highway. Authorities say they were traveling to a revival in Florida.
Hunter identified the others killed as 20-year-old Jennifer Walton, 19-year-old Cameron Freeman and a 13-year-old girl. The coroner declined to name her because she is a juvenile.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
BLAKELY, Ga. (AP) — Four people died when a church van overturned and flipped multiple times after blowing a tire on a southwest Georgia highway, ejecting all 19 people inside, authorities said Monday.
In addition to those who were killed, 15 passengers were injured in the crash Sunday evening on U.S. 27 south of Blakely, said Gordy Wright, spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol.
Wright said the passengers included at least two children younger than 2 years old, but he did not know if they were among the dead or injured.
Surviving passengers were taken to area hospitals. It was unclear Monday how seriously they were hurt, but Wright said it appears no one in the van was wearing a seat belt.
“They were all ejected,” Wright said. “Anytime you have an ejection, especially in a crash like that, the injuries are going to be serious.”
The van was on its way to a revival in Florida when a rear tire blew out, causing the driver to lose control, Wright said. The vehicle hit the median and flipped several times.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
The 1987 Dodge Ram Wagon van, with an intended capacity of 15 passengers, was from the Tabernacle of Prayer and Deliverance in Columbus, Wright said. A phone listing for the church was disconnected.
Early County Coroner Todd Hunter declined to release names or ages of the victims.