13 hurt, 3 critical after church bus crash


ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Thirteen people are hurt, 3 of those in critical condition, after a church van and a truck collided on Interstate 85 near mile marker 11 in Anderson County, according to emergency crews.

Anmed health says 5 people will be staying overnight.

Two are still being treated.

Six have already been sent home.

The incident happened around 9:50 a.m. Monday.

It’s believed that the Homeland Park Baptist Church bus was headed to Georgia for a day trip because there wasn’t any luggage, firefighters say.

Pastor James Strickland was driving the bus and released from the hospital this afternoon.

He posted the following on the Homeland Park Baptist Church’s Facebook page:

“Dear Friends, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. God will get the glory through this. I cannot praise the first responders and AnMed ER enough for their prompt and professional care of myself and our members. I was released today. Please pray for the continued recovery and treatment of our members. – Pastor James”

Firefighters say all the passengers were adults.

Traffic is moving again on I-85, but it is slow in those south bound lanes for miles.

Christopher Mezzapesa, 30, of Charlotte N.C. has been charged with reckless driving in the church bus crash, according to SC Highway Patrol.

They say Mezzapessa was driving the pickup truck that struck the bus.

H.P. says both vehicles were traveling south when the truck hit the bus in the rear causing the van to swerve and turn over on its side.

Everyone in the van was wearing their seatbelts.

Mezzapessa was not wearing his seat belt and wasn’t injured in crash.

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