Statesville survivors of fatal bus wreck thank medical responders

Members of a Statesville church who survived a deadly bus wreck in Tennessee last year returned for the first time this week to thank the University of Tennessee Medical Center workers who’d tended to them.

Members of the Front Street Baptist Church Young at Heart Seniors Ministry were returning from the 17th Annual Fall Jubilee in Gatlinburg in October when the bus careened across a median on Interstate 40. The bus hit an SUV and then slammed into a tractor-trailer.

Six members of the church died, as well as the driver of the truck and a passenger in the SUV.

In April, investigators said a front tire on the church bus failed, likely because the wheel struck road debris or some other object within an hour of the wreck. The cause of the crash was ruled accidental and no charges were filed.

On Thursday afternoon, survivors of the wreck from Front Street Baptist held an ice cream party at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

The church posted a picture on its Facebook page from the Knoxville News Sentinel showing several LIFESTAR air crew members hugging survivors Sandy and Marvin Boyer.

“On the road to recovery: After tragedy, something sweet,” reads the headline on the paper’s accompanying story of the reunion.

The party was part of a weeklong Front Street Baptist Tennessee mission trip that also included helping at a food pantry and participating in a vacation Bible school, according to the trip itinerary on the church’s Facebook page.

Church members are scheduled to return to Statesville on Sunday after a morning worship service.