Driver in deadly church van wreck convicted on federal gun charg

Driver in deadly church van wreck convicted on federal gun charges

Posted:
Tyler Schaeffer (Source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) Tyler Schaeffer (Source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The man blamed in a deadly church van crash is convicted on federal gun charges.

A jury convicted Tyler Schaeffer of four counts of using a gun in a robbery and using a gun while trafficking drugs on Friday.

The charges stem from an armed robbery spree.

Schaeffer had already pleaded guilty to the robberies, including two Subway restaurants, plus four other businesses and an alleged drug-dealing operation in Sevierville.

Two other men were also accused.

Prosecutors say Schaeffer faces at least 82 years and up to life in prison on the gun convictions and possibly another 160 years from the robbery and drug charges.

Sentencing is set for October.

One of those robberies took place just two days before Schaeffer's SUV crashed head-on into a church van carrying members of the Cedar Grove Baptist Church youth group back from a retreat.

Youth Pastor Jeff Trussell and 16-year-old Courteney Kaliszewski were killed.

Schaeffer was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide related to the wreck.

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