UPDATE: Driver says brakes failed causing crash with church van - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Driver says brakes failed causing crash with church van

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Photo Courtesy: Daily Post Athenian Photo Courtesy: Daily Post Athenian
ATHENS, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: In Athens, More than a dozen people were injured in a crash involving a church van.  

It happened around 9 a.m. at the intersection of Highway 30 and McMinn County Road 554.

18-year-old Zachary Crager, told THP the brakes on his truck failed, causing him to drive into the van's path.

All 14 people involved, including 11 children, were taken to the hospital for treatment. 

Witnesses say the pickup truck ended up wrapping around a yield sign. It was coming off  of Highway 554. Neighbors in the area stepped into help when they heard the impact.

"I heard a bang and it sounded like somebody dropped something," said Eyewitness.

"The big boom, it actually rattled the windows," said Eyewitness. 

Folks along Highway 30 in Athens ran out to help after the driver of the truck told officers he couldn't stop, causing him to collide with a church van full of children from Zion Hill Baptist Church. 

The kids, ages 4 to 8, were headed to the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga. 

"He was coming off this road and what I understand is his brakes failed," said Eyewitness. 

Amanda Collins says everyone on board the van was shaken up. As she got closer, she realized one of the Children had a mouth injury. 

"That's when they realized a lot of his teeth were busted out," Eyewitness.

The driver of the van has been identified as 61-year-old Gary Culberson.

The front seat passenger that was airlifted to UT Medical is identified as 27-year-old Whitney Martin. 

Everyone is expected to be okay. 


PREVIOUS STORY: The driver of Silverado truck involved in Thursday’s crash with a church van told Tennessee Highway Patrol that his brakes failed and he drove into path of the church van.

The driver of the Silverado truck, 18 year-old Zachery Crager of Decatur, will be cited for failure to maintain an operating vehicle after his brakes failed.
 
Crager was transported to Starr Regional and then to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. 

Gary Culberson, 61, the van's driver, transported by ground to Star Regional Etowah. A front seat passenger, Whitney Martin, 27, was airlifted to UT Medical Center.

One of the children, a six year-old, was transported to Athens Star Regional then transferred to UT Medical Center. 

The other children, with ages ranging from 4 to 8 years old, were all transported to Star Regional Etowah for examination and treatment.
 
The THP says that everyone involved in the crash was wearing a seatbelt.


PREVIOUS STORY: A church van crash in Athens has resulted in 14 people aboard being transported to local hospitals for examination and treatment Thursday.

The crash happened about 9:00am near the intersection of Highway 30 and McMinn County Road 554.

The church van belonged to the Zion Hill Baptist Church in Englewood. The children on the bus were attending a day camp at the church.

It’s unclear how many children were aboard the van, but one child hit their mouth and may require oral surgery. A woman aboard the van was flown to Knoxville.

There were no fatalities.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

Channel 3 has a crew en route and will be updating this developing story. 

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