Church van wreck site holds tragedy -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Church van wreck site holds tragedy


By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

Early County, GA (WALB) –  State troopers continue to investigate the crash of an overloaded church van that killed four people and injured 15 Sunday night in Early County. 

We know now the injured include an 11-month-old baby and two pregnant women.  Two teenagers, a 20-year-old woman, and the church pastor were killed.

A visit to the crash site can be pretty upsetting. There is still quite a bit of blood in the road. There were also shoes, snack foods and medical equipment scattered in the grass nearby.

Greg Grimes lives on highway 27 just South of Blakely, and says most days there are quiet. "Out in the rural area, not much goes on," he said.

But the scene outside his home Sunday night was pretty chaotic. In fact, Grimes describes what he saw last night as extremely disturbing.

"I saw several people laying in the road, covered up. It was obvious they were dead and they were working on quite a few more at the time," said Grimes.

Troopers say around 6:45PM the 1987 Dodge Ram van carrying 19 people from the Tabernacle of Deliverance and Prayer Church in Columbus, was on its way to a revival in Quincy, Florida when a rear tire blew.

"A neighbor called and said he had heard a tire blow, or it sounded like a tire had blown, and a dump truck door slamming after it dumped the dirt."

That's when the driver 29-year-old Kenasha Seldon lost control of the van, traveled into the northbound lanes, and overturned at least twice. "You could actually see the van on the side of the road from here if you look hard enough."

All 19 people were thrown out of the van, and 15 of them hurt including two pregnant women and an 11 month old child.

"It was sad, really sad to see what had taken place," Grimes said. "It just makes you think how you could be here one minute and gone the next."

Troopers say the van was only equipped to hold 15 passengers, but 19 people were piled in. It did not appear any of those passengers were wearing seat belts.

Four people, all are from Columbus, were killed in the crash:

Pastor Ronmyka D. Williams, age 35
Jasmin Shelly, age 13
Cameron Freeman, age 19
Jennifer Walton, age 20

Monday night, the Georgia State Patrol released the names and ages of the 15 people who were injured in the crash:

Kenasha Antreece Seldon, 29
David Dunn, 21
Justin Caleb Gill, 22
Treveon Gill, 1
Lillian Nicole Ellison, 20
Tyisha Latay Gill, 22
James Travis Bell, 20
Prince Julian Williams, 11 months
Timika Lashawn Williams, 25
Kesha Rowland, 32
Richard Murray, 19
Michael Woodard, 20
Sabrina Barnes, 15
Amari Smith, 8
Aliyyah J. Barri, 19

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