At least eight people are dead after a church bus crashed into an SUV and a tractor-trailer in eastern Tennessee on Wednesday, killing occupants in each vehicle, officials said.
The bus, carrying church passengers from Statesville, N.C., crossed over the median on Interstate 40 in Jefferson County after an apparent front-tire blowout, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The bus then hit a Chevy Tahoe and the tractor-trailer, touching off a fire that partially consumed the tractor-trailer, officials said.
The bus, which officials think had 18 occupants, came to rest on its side.
Six bus occupants died, plus one person from the tractor-trailer and one person from the SUV, according to the highway patrol.
Twelve victims were taken to local hospitals by ambulance and helicopter.
Two others victims were not seriously injured, officials said.
The interstate was closed, and it was unclear when it would reopen. Officials said they planned to hold a full news conference about the crash on Wednesday evening.
THP: I-40 crash involves 3 vehicles - bus, tractor trailer & passenger vehicle - multiple fatalities & injuries. pic.twitter.com/lzQcHXiSmr— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) October 2, 2013