Youth group member talks about friends hurt in church van crash

Youth group member talks about friends hurt in church van crash

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Meranda Bonner said most of the congregation spent Sunday night at UT Medical Center, Meranda Bonner said most of the congregation spent Sunday night at UT Medical Center,

MARYVILLE (WATE) - The community is grieving the loss of Cedar Grove Baptist Church youth leader Jeff Trussell and Seymour High School student Courteney Kaliszewski.

The two were killed Sunday morning when authorities say an SUV driven by Tyler Schaeffer crossed over the center line on Chapman Highway and hit the church van Trussell was driving.

Meranda Bonner, 18, is a member of the youth group. She said most of the congregation spent Sunday night at UT Medical Center, where several youth members were still hospitalized.

She remembered Trussell as outgoing and funny. She said Kaliszewski was a talented singer and dancer.

Heritage Middle School Principal Steve Moser said several of his students were injured in the wreck. There were extra counselors on hand at the school Monday and at Seymour High School where Kaliszewski was a student.

Jim Snyder, director of missions for the Chilhowee Baptist Association, said the 80 churches involved will help raise money for Kaliszewski's funeral expenses. Snyder said Kaliszewski's mother had been in the hospital and her family was dealing with unemployment.

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