Saturday, July 3, 2010

'Long road to healing:' 10 hurt in I-85 tour bus wreck expected to recover

Police say all 10 people who were hurt when a singing group’s tour bus barreled into an idling tractor-trailer on I-85 Thursday are expected to recover from their injuries.

“They were pretty well banged up,” said Lt. Richard Spry of the Belmont Police Department. “They had some broken bones and bruises, but nothing life-threatening. It’s going to be a long road to healing.”

Thursday afternoon’s wreck on I-85 North past Exit 27 tangled northbound and southbound traffic for several hours. A bus belonging to The Bowling Family, a trio of Christian singers, rear-ended a Smithfield Foods tractor-trailer and pushed it into a box truck.

Spry said the box truck and tractor-trailer were preparing to exit into a weigh station for commercial trucks when the bus zoomed up behind the line of vehicles.

“(The driver) thought they were traveling at highway speed and he realized that they were not at the very last moment,” Spry said. “It was just a bad situation.”

The bus driver swerved to the left and struck the left rear side of the tractor-trailer, spinning it across the highway, Spry said.

No one was cited in the wreck, and police don’t anticipate any charges being filed. Spry said the bus was traveling at the posted speed limit of 60 mph at the time of the crash.

All 10 people hurt in the wreck were on board the tour bus, Spry said. Drivers of the tractor-trailer and box truck were treated at the scene. Despite preliminary reports indicating that two victims were taken to Presbyterian Hospital, police say all 10 received treatment at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Mike and Kelly Bowling and Terah Crabb Penhollow, who perform together as The Bowling Family, were among those on the tour bus.

Identities of the other passengers involved weren’t available Friday. Police had not completed the wreck report and said it may not be ready until Tuesday.

The singers were headed to a Thursday night concert in Indian Land, S.C., when their bus crashed. The group’s members have collectively won 11 Dove Awards and received three Grammy nominations, according to their website.

You can reach Corey Friedman at 704-869-1828

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