1 Dead, More Injured in Church Bus Accident Near Meridian

John Anderson of Shreveport, Louisiana says he's still in shock, but he's holding it together after tragedy unfolded instantly right before his eyes while traveling with church members on Interstate 59/20.

"All our children were on that bus," First Baptist Church of Shreveport Member John Anderson said.

It happened around 10 in the morning near mile marker 163 as First Baptist Church members of Shreveport were heading to a youth camp in Macon Georgia. Anderson says the mid-sized church bus he and 22 others were traveling on overturned.

"One of the rear tires blew out and the bus started fish tailing and went out of control and flipped over three times," Anderson said.

23 people aboard, mostly youth grades 7-12, including Anderson's daughter who is a camp counselor that's pregnant, but made it out OK. All suffered injures, some in critical condition and were rushed to Meridian hospitals. Anderson says a young man died at Jeff Anderson hospital and two young ladies are fighting for their lives after being airlifted to the University Medial Center in Jackson.

"It's tough on all of us because we know these kids and they are all like family," Anderson said.

Skids marks and what's left of the tires are still visible. The impact was so tremendous that it created this huge gouge mark. It was a multi-agency rescue effort including the Mississippi Highway Patrol but passengers says a group of Alabama National Guardsmen were like angels, happening to be driving by and helped in the effort. But Anderson says it was local church pastors like Carl White of Highland Baptist Church of Meridian that have kept everyone in good spirits as they cope with this tragedy.

'It's just been a remarkable show of Christian love and we couldn't be more thankful," Anderson said.

Patrolmen say the accident is still under investigation. Many of the passengers have been released and are waiting on parents and other loved ones.

"We will be here and help these families as long as we need to."

FBC Shreveport's web site quotes the church's pastor, Dr. Greg Hunt, as saying, "Our congregation is leaning on our faith and confidence in God, balancing direct action with reliance on the goodness and power of God.''

The church's complete statement can be found at http://www.fbcshreveport.org/.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Kathy lacey Location: dallas on Jul 16, 2009 at 10:01 AM
    I will pray for you all!
  • by hannah Location: ms on Jul 15, 2009 at 06:00 PM
    god is still in control no matter the situation.
  • by Shelly Location: Shreveport on Jul 13, 2009 at 02:46 PM
    My daughter was on the bus that crashed yesterday. Thank you is simply not enough to express our love and gratitude for all of the prayers and support we have received. The Toomsuba/Alamucha Fire Dept took care of our children as if they were their own. Thank God for the 2101st!!! They were truly Gods "Angels Among Us". To the churches who responded in Meridian, your kindness and love will Never be forgotten by any of us! May God Bless you all and please know have very grateful we are! Words are not enough! I wish I could hug you all!
  • by Jackie Location: Toomsuba,MS on Jul 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM
    As a member of the Toomsuba/Alamucha Fire Dept. my thoughts and prayers go out to all the children and adults that were on the bus and to all the families and friends affected by this horrible accident. Our dept. responded within minutes of being paged out and we did everything within our abilities to help the injured and get them sent off to the hospitals as fast as possible. We could not have done it without the help of the Army National Guard which were already on site and attending to these victims. This is the worst accident that I have ever seen, but I am proud to be a member of the fire department that was able to help, and thank God that he gave us the knowledge and courage to do so.
  • by Stacy Location: Bailey on Jul 13, 2009 at 08:16 AM
    My goodness!!! My heart goes out to these bus passengers and my prayers! Stacy Smith, Bailey MS
  • by Jennifer Location: Toomsuba on Jul 12, 2009 at 11:24 PM
    pictures of the FBC Shreveport bus accident can be viewed at www.toomsubafire.org
  • by Michael Location: Meridian on Jul 12, 2009 at 07:45 PM
    Very unfortunate. A big thanks to all the local churches that ministered to the families of the ones involved. As well as thanks to the national guardsmen who rescued the victims. May God bless, heal, and comfort the injured and their families and the family of the lost love one.
  • by Barbara Location: Meridian on Jul 12, 2009 at 06:39 PM
    Isn't it wonderful that God put those guardsmen at the scene of the bus accident when he did. They probably prevented more deaths. Our prayers are with the patients and their families and especially with the families of the deceased.
  • by JIMMY Location: TOOMSUBA, MS on Jul 12, 2009 at 05:09 PM
    I was one of the toomsuba/alamucha volunteer firefighters that worked that wreck this morning. I believe that if it were not for the 2101st being there and doing what they did, a lot worse could have happened to a lot more people. when i arrived every patient had been attended to, to some degree or another, partly by emr's and by ARMY. My thoughts and prayers are with those individuals and their families that were involved in the accident. we are thankful that AirCare was able to respond, and in the swiftness in them doing so. if anyone has any information on these children and their families as to how they are doing, please let me know at feeleyj83@yahoo.com or at toomsubafire.org.
  • by Bobby Rider Location: Atlanta, Ga. on Jul 12, 2009 at 04:45 PM
    I saw the accident occur and stopped to help. The National Guardsmen that arrived on the scene so quickly were professional and I know had to help save lives. This was a tragic scene.
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