Eight deaths reported as church bus overturns in Tennessee - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Eight deaths reported as church bus overturns in Tennessee

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(WBIR-TV) (WBIR-TV)

Courtesy NBC News

By M. Alex Johnson, Staff Writer, NBC News

A church bus traveling to North Carolina overturned Wednesday in Jefferson County, Tenn., killing at least eight people, injuring 14 others and shutting down both directions of Interstate 40, authorities told NBC News.

In addition to the deaths, there were also multiple injuries, the state Highway Patrol said.

The state Highway Patrol said the bus' left front tire blew out as it was traveling east on I-40 east of Knoxville. 

The bus, which was carrying 18 people, crossed the median and struck a tractor-trailer and a sport-utility vehicle carrying three people. The bus overturned, and the tractor-trailer caught on fire, the patrol said.

Six people were killed on the bus and one each was killed in the two other vehicles, the Highway Patrol said.

A spokeswoman for Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C., north of Charlotte, said the bus was carrying members of the church's Young at Heart group for senior citizens back home from the Fall Jubilee Conference, an annual preaching and gospel music gathering in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

A service was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET at the church.

Edgar Zuniga Jr. of NBC News contributed to this report.

Read on NBC News

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