Dealing with Tragedy: Brazil Pastor Speaks about Fatal Church Bus Accident

By Kyle Inskeep

Published 07/20 2014 11:53PM

Updated 07/20 2014 11:56PM

"His phone rang and he stepped outside and came back in and said there's been an accident," Tom Hess, pastor of Berea Christian Church said.

But Pastor Hess never imagined a scene like this.

Especially one that involved 18 of his church members, including two of his own children., and his church's bus.

"It was messed up. I mean the accident just really messed it up. I don't want to get into specifics of how it looked. I don't even want to remember it," Hess said. 

It's a picture he says those on the bus can't get out of their heads.

"Emotionally I would imagine their like the rest of us, still shaken," Hess said.

The group from Berea Christian Church had traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee for a spiritual conference.

Thursday evening the 15 teens and three chaperones were driving back from a volunteer project when their bus crashed through an intersection hit two cars and killed one person.

"You and I don't know that individual by name, she was special. I guarantee she was special to her family," Hess said.

Police have identified the victim as 54-year-old Jewell Winton of Knoxville.

"She is somebody who mattered and she passed away in that accident," Hess said.

Sunday service at Berea Christian Church was special.

There was no sermon, because Pastor Hess said there were no words to match this moment.

"Praise and thankful honor and glorifying god for our team being able to come home safe and realizing at the same time that does not lessen the sorrow, sadness, or value of a life that was lost," Hess said.

One life lost.

And many others forever changed.

"Something life changing for 18 individuals that we known has just happened," Hess said.

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