In this aerial photo, emergency workers respond to a crash involving a passenger… (Paul Efir / The Knoxville…)
The victims of a bus-truck-SUV crash in eastern Tennessee that killed eight people cut across generations. Among them were a 95-year-old man on a church bus headed back to North Carolina and a 24-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., resident, who was riding in the back of an SUV, officials said.
The victims' identities were released Thursday as officials continued to work to confirm the identity of the driver of a semi killed in the Wednesday crash, in which a church bus crossed the median and hit a Chevy Tahoe and the tractor-trailer.
An ensuing blaze made some bodies difficult to identify, officials had said earlier. (NBC News reported that the National Transportation Safety Board, which typically investigates such serious crashes, could not send any investigators to the crash because they'd been furloughed by the federal government shutdown.)
Six people were killed on the Statesville, N.C., church bus, whose passengers were all in their 60s and 70s, except for Cloyce Matheny, 95.
Twelve more passengers were injured in the bus, including Ed Mclelland, 64, whose wife, Marsha Mclelland, 62, was killed. Another husband-and-wife couple -- one of whom was the driver, Randy Morrison, 66 -- were also killed. His wife was Barbara Morrison, 66.
Brenda Smith, 69, and John Wright, 73, of Mocksville, N.C. -- the only non-Statesville resident on the bus -- were the others killed on the bus.
The bus first hit a Chevy Tahoe heading the other way on Interstate 40, injuring front passenger Tim Wacker, 28, and driver Jordan D. Payne, 24, but killing rear passenger Trent Roberts, 24. All three were from Knoxville.
The seniors on the bus were members of the Young at Heart Ministry from the Front Street Baptist Church and were returning from "three days of singing, laughing and preaching" at a jubilee in Gatlinburg, Tenn., according to the Associated Press.
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