3 victims of church bus crash released from hospital

3 victims of Jefferson County church bus crash released from hospital


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Three people who were injured in a deadly church bus crash in Jefferson County were released from UT Medical Center Wednesday.

Steven Swaim, 68; Norma Hellard, 78; and Ed McLelland, 64, were released from the hospital.

Six victims remain in the hospital after the crash. Joanna Elledge, 70, and Marvin Boyer, 74, remain in critical condition.

Thomas L. Smith, 74; Benny Elledge, 72; and Beverly Wright, 62, are in serious condition. Doris Swaim, 68, is listed as stable.

Eight people were killed when a tire malfunctioned on the bus on Interstate 40 last Wednesday in Jefferson County.  The driver lost control, causing the bus to cross the center divider, striking a tractor trailer and an SUV.

Six people on the bus, one person in the tractor trailer and one person in the SUV were killed.

The bus, from Front Street Baptist Church in Statesville, N.C., was traveling back home after attending an event in Gatlinburg.

The church posted on its Facebook page Wednesday a request for help in paying for non-emergency transport for victims being released from the hospital, but posted again Thursday saying the need had been met.

Jefferson County Emergency Management officials say they offered to donate their time and services.

"Several of our paramedics and EMTs that were on the scene that day said that they were willing to volunteer their time to help get them back home, and we were willing to make that happen," said Emergency Management Director Brad Phillips.

It's about a three hour drive to Statesville, and officials estimate the cost to be $100 per trip just in fuel. Jefferson County officials say it's a price they are willing to pay.

"It's all about the families and that church and not only the church but the other victims that lost their life that day and they'll always be on our hearts and minds," said Phillips.

First-Call Ambulance Service also offered transportation for free to the victims injured in the crash.

Donations can still be made to help the victims cover their medical bills.

6 News Reporter LAURA HALM contributed to this report.

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