A Tennessee pastor who lost control of and crashed a church bus in which he was transporting multiple teenagers over the weekend, is now thanking God after they all walked away from the wreck alive.
"We were spared. Could've been a lot worse. Could've been a lot worse," Pastor Joshua Clark from Parrans Chapel Baptist in Bolivar told News 4 in an interview. "We're all here. We're all safe. So, praise the Lord."
The bus, which was carrying 12 people including Clark and eight teenagers, was borrowed from Dixie Hills Baptist Church in Bolivar. The Tennessee Highway Patrol told News Channel 9 that it overturned on State Route 840 and Highway 100 at around 6 p.m. Saturday during rain.
Clark said the group was heading home from an event in Chattanooga when a gust of wind hit the vehicle on I-840 West near Highway 100 in Williamson County.
"Right as we were trying to slow down, a big gust of wind [hit] and started pushing us. Rain, lots of rain came. It caused us to hydroplane as we tried to correct from the wind and that's when all the sliding started," Clark said.
The wind caused the bus to roll into a median and Clark was forced to fight his way out of the bus where luggage and an ice chest almost trapped him.
"We crawled out of the top hatch of the top of the bus," he said.
No one was seriously hurt but one student had to get eight staples in his head from a cut after they were checked by doctors.
The church said in a statement that the accident was unavoidable.
“Despite all efforts to drive safely it, unfortunately, could not have been avoided. Thankfully, the Lord’s hand protected all the passengers and all walked away without any major injuries and were released after being evaluated at two different hospitals,” a statement sent to New Channel 9 said.
Clark said when the wind hit the bus all he could think of was the safety of the people he was transporting.
“I was responsible for 11 other people on that bus and I felt that weight of responsibility," he said.
The accident also triggered a statement from Dixie Hills on Sunday when they began getting calls about the crash.
“We want to thank all who have reached out and prayed in the news of our bus wreck near Nashville last night. A sister church in town borrowed it for a youth trip. They hydroplaned in bad weather and lost control. All are home. Praises for no serious injuries or lives lost!” the church said in a statement on Facebook.
Clark said they're now focusing on getting over the shock from the crash.