STATESVILLE, N.C. -- Investigators say a blown front tire caused a tragic accident that killed eight people in Tennessee last year, including six members of Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville.
No one will face criminal charges and no one is to blame, investigators said during a news conference Monday.
Church members say the findings confirm what they ve felt all along: that there was nothing the driver could do.
There was a pow of the front tire, Sandy Boyer said, recalling last October s accident.
An exploding left-front tire woke a sleeping Boyer and threw her onto the floor of Front Street Baptist Church's bus, which was on I-40 in Jefferson County, Tennessee, coming back from a religious event.
In an instant the bus flew over a median and crashed into an SUV, then a tractor trailer. Boyer was friends with those who died.
We're still battling that, she said.
Monday in Tennessee, investigators say the church bus hit something about within 50 miles of the crash site.
Exactly what it was they aren t sure, but it was enough to tear the tire tread to pieces once heat from the road meant the tire could take no more.
Perhaps a pothole, investigators said. We know he went through a construction zone.
There was nothing that could have been done on the part of the driver to have avoided that, investigators added, There is no criminal act.
Investigators say there was no speeding and no driver impairment, just the lack of a DOT bus number, which had nothing to do with the accident.
This was truly just a tragic crash.
Certainly doesn't do any good to ask why, that's not for me to ask, Marvin Boyer said.
Marvin and Sandy Boyer are both still recovering from multiple surgeries.
They say they never would have gotten on the bus if they weren't comfortable with driver Randy Morrison, who was known to work on the bus constantly to keep it safe and clean.
I've never had any questions about his driving, Sandy said, I think it's a relief for us to know a finger has not been pointed at our church, nor had it been pointed at Randy, Boyer said.
Tim Stutts, pastor for Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, released the following statement Monday afternoon:
I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all of those who responded to the bus accident that took place October 2. Thank you to those who responded to the scene and made yourselves available to be used powerfully in the midst of a great tragedy. Thank you to those who responded at UT Medical Center and all those who have assisted with those recovering from the accident. Thank you to all those who responded by giving sacrificially and praying faithfully for those involved in the accident and those who lost loved ones in the accident. I would also like to thank those who participated in the investigation brought to us today.
While we are thankful to have this part of the process behind us, the reality of the bus accident is still part of our daily lives. Our hearts still grieve for the Roberts family, the Farmer family and for those who lost loved ones within our own church family. We ask that you continue to pray for all who have been impacted by this accident knowing that our Heavenly Father is able to comfort those who mourn and give beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). Because we worship a Savior who has conquered death and the grave, we can face whatever comes our way in this life.