Brazil Church Bus Involved in Fatal Crash in TN

By Kyle Inskeep

Published 07/18 2014 05:34PM

Updated 07/18 2014 07:40PM

There is little left of a church bus carrying 18 people people from Brazil on a church-sponsored trip to Knoxville, Tennessee.

"The bus had a red light but apparently was unable to stop for the red light and drove through the intersection," Darrell Debusk, PIO for the Knoxville Police Department said.

The bus hit two cars and killed one person Thursday evening.

54-year-old Jewell Winton of Knoxville was pronounced dead at the scene.

Members of the Berea Christian Church, based in Brazil, were in Tennessee for a conference.

The church's Pastor, Tom Hess released statement Friday saying: 

"I'm extremely thankful to God that all our students and chaperones are fine, but at the same time it breaks our hearts that a family here in Tennessee is missing a family member."

"Whether it was an accident or not, we will forward to the D-A's office for their review. They will take the investigative file and review it and determine if there will be any charges filed at that time," Debusk said.

The driver of the bus told police the brakes on the bus may have failed.

A full inspection by the Tennessee Highway Patrol is scheduled for Monday.

"They have less record keeping requirements," Sgt. Chuck Tharp with the Indiana State Police said.

Tharp says church buses are required to undergo yearly maintenance inspections, but it's essentially done on the honor system.

"If we were to stop the bus or work an accident involving that bus we could then look at their records to see if it was inspected," Tharp said.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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