Jefferson County, T.N.-- Tennesee Highway Patrol (THP) has confirmed to WBIR there are multiple fatalities and injuries in a crash in Jefferson County.
Officials say a passenger bus traveling eastbound on I-40 near mile marker 423 crossed the median and crashed into a tractor trailer and passenger car that were heading westbound.
THP said the tractor trailer caught fire and the bus overturned. According to THP, 8 people are dead, and multiple injuries are reported. An EMS official told WBIR 20 ambulances and 5 helicopters responded from multiple counties.
Interstate 40 is closed in both directions at mile marker 423 in Jefferson county. Traffic is being diverted. Detours are: I-40 Eastbound traffic will take I-81 Northbound to I-26 Eastbound, back to I-40 Eastbound in North Carolina.
TDOT Smartway reports the wreck is estimated to be cleared by 9:00 p.m
Sources: WBIR, CBS
WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford was in Statesville on Wednesday night.
Front Street Baptist Church held their weekly scheduled Wednesday night service but inside was anything but ordinary.
The parking lot was jammed and a member told News 2 that inside was more crowded than usual.
"We are sad by the news that we've heard here and we've had a group of seniors called the Young At Hearts that were returning home from Gatlinburg, Tennessee," said Rick Cruz, one of the pastors.
Pastor Cruz said the seniors were coming home from a conference.
"We do know that there were several that went on to be with the Lord," said Cruz.
And outside the walls of the church, a whole community is grieving too. Mary Wiles belongs to another church but they too prayed for those involved on Wednesday night at her service.
"Pray for the families that lost their loved ones and stuff there and everything, those in the accident and all."
"We found out it was across the street so, we started trying to read. It's really sad. It's heartbreaking to know that happen to so many people and so close to home," said Carrie Robles, an employee at the grocery store across the street from the church.
The Red Cross was also on hand to help the community grieve.
Jennifer Franklin with the Red Cross said, "We're also in communication with our Red Cross team in Tennessee and we will be here as long as they need us."