The van was struck by a pickup truck that was pulling a trailer full of metal

By Helen Murphy
May 30, 2019 09:07 AM
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Four people were killed on Tuesday when a truck rear-ended a van carrying a church choir in rural Virginia.
Credit: Courtesy of Virginia State Police

A pickup truck pulling a trailer loaded with metal crashed into a church van on Tuesday in Virginia, killing four people and injuring several others.

According to Virginia State Police, the van was traveling west on Route 460 and had slowed down to make a right turn into a church parking lot when the truck “failed to stop in time” and rear-ended it.

“The impact of the crash caused the van to overturn several times before it finally came to rest on its side,” a statement from the police given to PEOPLE explained.

The New York Times reports that the van contained members of the Shiloh Baptist Church choir who were en route to Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dinwiddie County to sing at a revival meeting.

Police said there were 11 adults inside the van at the time of the crash. Four died at the scene, three were flown to VCU Medical Center in Richmond with life-threatening injuries, and the remaining four were transported by ambulances to nearby hospitals for treatment of serious injuries.

The victims of the crash were identified by police as James Farley, 87; Wartena Somerville, 36; Delois Williams, 72; and Constance Wynn, 85 — all residents of Blackstone, where Shiloh Baptist Church is located.

Four people were killed on Tuesday when a truck rear-ended a van carrying a church choir in rural Virginia.
Credit: Courtesy of Virginia State Police

The driver of the pickup truck was identified as Robert Lee Allen, 47, from Norfolk. After the crash, he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for the treatment of minor injuries.

The investigation into the crash remains ongoing, police said, and charges are pending.

Benjamin Brown Jr., the pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church, was not in the van but told the Washington Post that he arrived on the scene after receiving a call from authorities.

“I’m shocked,” Brown said. “It’s hard to believe. We’re hurting.”

“We have our faith to lean on and help us through this,” he added to the outlet