This afternoon, tragedy struck Knoxville when two school buses collided on Asheville Highway in East Knoxville. As far as we know at this moment, two children and one adult have died as a result of the crash, and 23 people are injured. Though no names have been released, WBIR.com tells us that all of the children on the bus were in kindergarten through third grade, and the adult who died was an aide.
Twenty of the students are being treated or have been treated for “non-life threatening injuries” and the remaining three are all listed in stable condition. The news report says that parents can call the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital at 865-541-8109 if they believe their children may have been harmed.
Knox County Superintendent Jim McIntyre was originally unsure whether or not schools will be closed tomorrow, but it appears that they will be open. He is making grief counselors available for the students of Chilhowee Intermediate School and Sunnyview Primary School, whose buses were in the tragic collision. When asked, Superintendent McIntyre said “When something like this happens, it’s tragic and it hurts. We lost some members of our Knox County Schools family; some of our youngest children.”
This is one of those stories that hurts our heart to tell. The story is still developing, so no news is available about whether or not the injured 23 children are all okay, or if anyone else has come forth with injuries. We still don’t quite know what caused one bus to flip over, or why these buses collided in the first place. Traffic on the Ashville Highway is expected to be backed up until midnight tonight, as local and state police investigate the scene. We are frustrated that we don’t have any answers to give to you.
But mostly, we feel pain for the tragic loss of life, and for the families of all of the children and adults who were involved in the accident. Tonight we pray for the people of Knoxville, and we hope that they soon find the answers they seek – and that those answers afford them even the smallest bit of peace.
Our thoughts and our hearts are with Knoxville tonight in the wake of their unspeakable loss.