Knoxville bus crash kills eight people, injures 14 more

Eight people have died and at least 14 more have been injured after a bus flipped and caught fire on a Tennessee highway, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

The crash happened at about 2 p.m. Wednesday on Interstate 40 near its interchange with Interstate 81, shutting down the entire highway.

According to WATE-TV in Knoxville, the three-vehicle crash involved the passenger bus, a car and a tractor-trailer.

The crash was caused when the bus blew a tire and lost control, authorities say.

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The bus was carrying members of the Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C., which is about 140 miles east of the crash site.

Dionne Stutts, wife of Front Street Baptist senior pastor Tim Stutts, said the bus was carrying a senior adult group who was on the way home from a trip to Gatlinburg.

She said her husband and another pastor from the church were en route to the wreck.

"They had been there and they were on their way home today," she said. "We are devastated and just ask for the people to be praying."

Susan Wyatt, a spokeswoman for the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said all of the injured were adults. Four were flown to the emergency room.

Qualls said 18 people were on the bus and six of them were killed. One person among the three in the SUV was killed and the tractor-trailer driver also died.

The bus crossed the median in Jefferson County about 2 p.m. It clipped the oncoming SUV and slammed into the tractor-trailer, which burst into flames. The bus, which was heading east, overturned.

The accident shut down Interstate 40 in Jefferson County.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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