DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The National Transportation Safety Board announced Monday it is investigating a bus accident that killed four people Saturday in North Carolina.
Two NTSB investigators have been assigned to look into the crash involving a charter bus crash carrying a South Carolina football squad.
Authorities said a front tire on the bus blew out, causing it to crash into a median divider.
“I’ve been doing this job for 23 years now. I’ve seen my share, and this is one of the worst, especially when you have a group of students, young people just starting their lives, going to a football game,” said Lt. Jeff Gordon with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
The bus driver and three passengers were killed.
The four killed were:
- Brian Andre Kirkpatrick, 43, of Chester, South Carolina (driver)
- Devonte Gibson, 21, of Rock Hill, South Carolina (passenger)
- Tito Agosinho Hamilton Jr., 19, of Pahokee, Florida (passenger)
- Darice Hicks, 8, of Rock Hill, South Carolina (passenger)
The crash happened around 2:35 p.m. on the U.S. 74 bypass near I-74/exit 316, Gordon said.
The charter bus was carrying the Ramah Jucco Academy football team from Chester, South Carolina, according to Jim Terry, who works recruiting players for an opposing team called University of God’s Chosen in Raeford.
According to Highway Patrol, the charter bus is registered to Sandy River Baptist Church in Chester, South Carolina.
The church referred CBS North Carolina to their insurance agent at Southern Mutual Church Insurance, who said they have no comment due to the active investigation.
A privately-owned charter bus is subject to federal safety regulations such as an annual inspection and documentation of such inspections, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Those records are kept on a state level.
Federal records show no inspections of that charter bus within the past 24 months.
Officials said the investigation into the crash could last up to several months.