FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The coach of a Raeford-based football team who was set to play the team involved in a horrific bus crash Saturday afternoon talked to CBS North Carolina about the tragedy.
The bus was driving college football players from Rock Hill, South Carolina to Fayetteville for an afternoon game.
The Fayetteville coach that was hosting the game spoke with CBS North Carolina on Sunday.
University of God’s Chosen and Ramah Jucco teams were both looking forward to Saturday’s game.
It was the first time both teams would meet to kick off the college football season.
But Coach Bakari Rawlinson and Ramah Jucco players never arrived.
It took several hours to remove the aftermath of the horrific crash near Hamlet around 2:30 Saturday afternoon.
Highway Patrol says Ramah Jucco’s bus was traveling along U.S. 74 when the front left tire blew out.
The bus struck a median guardrail and sideswiped a concrete bridge column.
Rahma Jucco players were headed to Fayetteville’s Lake Rim Park to take on University of God’s Chosen.
“We have a lot of tragedies daily but that’s people you don’t know, and when you hear something like this from someone you do know, personally, it hurts,” said Coach Demetrius Hollingsworth, founder of University of God’s Chosen.
The N.C. Highway Patrol identified the deceased victims as 21-year-old Devonte Gibson and 8-year-old Darice Hicks, both of Rock Hill, South Carolina; 19-year-old Tito Hamilton of Pahokee, Florida, and 43-year-old Brian Kirkpatrick of Chester, South Carolina. Kirkpatrick was the bus driver.
“Even the nurses, security guards, everyone was down, you know what I mean?” Hollingsworth said.
Hours after the crash, Hollingsworth went to one of the local hospitals where victims were treated.
More than 40 others on board the bus were treated for various injuries ranging from minor to critical.
Hollingsworth says the only thing he can do now is rely on faith.
“For my kids personally, I told them you can’t do nothing about It but pray, nothing else we can do…,” he said.
Prior to the accident, University of God’s Chosen planned to drive to South Carolina to play Ramah Jucco in November.
Hollingsworth says it’s unknown how long before Ramah Jucco’s team is back on track.
The N.C. Highway Patrol will continue to investigate the accident.