Authorities: 6 Dead In Church Van Crash In NY

WOODBURY, N.Y. (1010 WINS/CBS 2/AP) — A passenger van carrying members of a church flipped over on the New York State Thruway on Saturday, killing at least six people and injuring eight others, authorities said.

Fourteen people were in the van when it crashed on the northbound side of Interstate 87 in Woodbury, about 55 miles north of New York City, at about 3 p.m., state police and the Thruway Authority said. It appeared to be a single-vehicle crash.

“It was a tragic, tragic scene,” said state police Troop T commander Major Robert Meyers.

He said the right rear tire blew out on the 1997 van, and the vehicle went into a rumble strip and rolled over into the grassy median separating the north and southbound lanes. Some of the passengers were ejected, and the van came to a rest upside-down.

Six of the passengers were dead at the scene. Four were flown to a hospital, while four others were taken by ambulance.

1010 WINS has learned that van was carrying fourteen members of the Joy Fellowship Christian Assembly Church in the Bronx, including the bishop of the congregation and the associate pastor.

Traffic was backed up for miles on I-87 after the accident, but there was heavy traffic of a different kind inside the Baychester church.

Relatives and congregation members crowded the place of worship with heavy hearts, leaning on each other during a time of unbearable anguish.

“Pray for the congregation, pray for the family,” Baychester resident Lorna Reid said. “We’re not sure what’s happening, who’s passed, we just ask that everyone pray.”

“It’s devastating, because it’s people you see every day,” church member Dawn Edwards said. “It’s ordinary people you see every day.”

The church members left the Bronx and were heading to a banquet upstate organized by their sister church, the First Light Christian Assembly.

People at the banquet said the party went on as planned, and they did not realize the extent of the accident. Some said they had known there had been an accident because there were 14 empty seats at the banquet, but didn’t know there had been fatalities.

The injured were taken to either Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern or Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

Meyers said he could not release the passengers’ identities because their relatives had not been notified. He said the van was registered to a church in lower Westchester County. He also declined to identify the church pending notification of families. The driver survived and was being interviewed, he said.

Deborah Marshall, a spokeswoman for Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, said four women were admitted there. One was in critical but stable condition, while another was in critical but unstable condition, Marshall said. That patient was transported to Jacobi Medical Center in New York City. Two other patients were being assessed.

A spokesman at Westchester Medical Center said he could not immediately provide information on the patients’ conditions.

After northbound lane closures between Exit 16 (Harriman/Route 17) and Exit 17 (Newburgh/I-84/Route 17K) for hours, the New York State Thruway Authority announced Saturday night that all lanes on I-87 were reopened.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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One Comment

  1. wanda pertilla says:

    I drove passed this accident yesterday and it was horrific…The nerve of some of these comments..only in AMERICA…. Somebody lost their parent, wife, husband and etc. My condoloences to the families

  2. Hortense says:

    M condolences goes out to the church family for their loss and, for those who got injury in the accident. May you be all comforted, knowing that God is the keeper of our life.

  3. intersessor says:

    I pray for the repose of thier souls in heaven. I pray for peace beyond all understanding to the families, I pray that satens victums get much revelation from God, and that they come into full recovery, healing and restoration in Jesus name. God uses all bad for good. Expect something good to come out of this.. Be Blessed….

  4. Eversaw says:

    God’s garden must be beautifull because he only take the best those who suffer need more than sympathy they need companionship

  5. Eversaw says:

    My condolence to the loss and the sufering to all

  6. A.J. says:

    The Families & Friends of the 6 Who Have Died Need Lots of Prayers!! And so do the Passengers who are in CCU!!

    I am “Proof that Prayers Do Work” because I survived a 5 Day Hepatic Coma at the end of December 2007!! Still can’t believe that I had the Highest Amount of Ammonia in my State of NJ- 380!!!

  7. A.J. says:

    I am Praying for the Families & Friends of the 6 Who Have Died!! And especially for the 8 who are in the Hospital- They Need the Prayers too!!

    I am “Proof that Prayers Do Work”!!!

  8. sean says:

    I drive these 15 Passenger van regularly. The back end is extended past the rear axle and has a high center of gravity and steers differently than a car. The more weight and the further back it is the worse off you are if you have to swerve or have a blowout…. they aren’t regulated by the gov’t because they are a ‘truck’

  9. Jimmy Henry says:

    Our sympathies to the bereaved. May the Almighty grant them eternal rest. As a woman activist had said “pray for the dead, but fight for the living. May the survivors recover from their injuries with God’s blessings.

  10. Barbara Morrison says:

    I am believeing God for nothing less than a Miracle for each of them that are in the hospital.

  11. Tina says:

    I saw the scene while in southbound traffic… the view of these yellow covers over the bodies and silent ambulances driving away…

  12. louise says:

    we passed by this horrible accident this afternoon and saw the covered bodies… about a little sympathy

  13. Toya says:

    My condolences to my brothers and sisters of the victims. Dad I pray u make it thru. We love u.

  14. MARTI says:


  15. MARTUI says:


  16. john says:

    someday you will see the true GOD!

  17. JasonS says:

    Seems to me that these “church vans” are involved in horrific multi-fatality crashes a disproportionate number of times. My guess is that it has something to do with poorly maintained vehicles and a misplaced faith that someone “up there” will nonetheless keep them safe.

  18. Al says:

    Always a church bus. Can’t anyone take a hint?

  19. ziggie says:

    Looks like the god of the earth had his hand in this accident. Don’t know who the god of the earth is, look it up it’s in the bible.

    1. C.P. says:

      The god if this system is Satan himself….2Corinthians 4:4

  20. stevie68a says:

    Looks like mr. jesus wasn’t paying attention. Anything that disproves religion is
    always ignored. The words “god acts in mysterious ways” means nothing.
    jesus is imaginary. Grow up.

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