ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Nineteen people were injured when a church bus was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver Sunday in Anderson County.
The crash happened on Old Williamston Road near Amberwood Drive shortly before 7:30 p.m.
Troopers said a car crossed into oncoming traffic and hit the bus head-on.
Anderson County deputies said two helicopters were used to take people to the hospital in Anderson and Greenville.
The bus belonged to Labor of the Field Church.
The church said all 19 men on the bus were hurt, four of whom were in critical condition with broken collar bones and hips.
Labor of the Field Senior Pastor, Vernon Bagwell, said the bus was leaving a recovery meeting at NewSpring Church when the crash happened.
“I was communicating back and forth on the way to the hospital, so I know they had gotten most of them to the hospital. Thank God nobody got killed,” said Bagwell. “You just thank God because it was a really bad accident.”
Assistant Pastor Larry Burgess was headed home from the meeting in the opposite direction when he got the call about the crash.
“When I got to the wreck, I was really overwhelmed,” said Burgess. “My guys were laying all over the roads and had back braces, neck braces, and put on stretchers. It was just so chaotic, I just started crying because I didn’t know what was going on. It was just so much happening; I was just scared to death,” said Burgess.
The driver of the car, Joel Cristobal Ajqui, was charged with three counts of felony DUI involving great bodily injury and driving without a license, according to Highway Patrol.