Memorial planned for bus crash victims in Statesville

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Hundreds of people are expected to gather in Statesville to remember six church members killed in a bus crash. (Image: WSOC-TV)

STATESVILLE, N.C. — Hundreds of people are expected to gather in Statesville to remember six church members killed in a bus crash.

WSOC-TV reported that the public memorial is planned at Statesville High School starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Organizers said a benefit fund has been set up for the victims and will go toward hospital expenses, funeral expenses, and anything else the families need.

The memorial comes during a week of private funerals for each victim from Front Street Baptist Church.

The six church members died in a fiery crash Wednesday, Oct. 2 in Tennessee while returning from a gospel festival. Their ages ranged from 66 to 95 and many had reportedly been friends for decades.

Investigators said a tire on the bus failed, which caused the bus to careen into a median, and crash into an SUV and a tractor-trailer just outside of Knoxville.

Eight people, including the six church members, were killed and 12 others were taken to hospitals.

Those who died included: Randy Morrison, a Vietnam vet, and his wife Barbara, a grandmother of five; John Wright, a singer in the choir whose funeral was Tuesday, Marsha McLelland, a retired nurse, whose husband survived the wreck; and Brenda Smith, a grandmother of four, whose husband survived.

Read more: WSOC-TV