The cause of a church bus crash near the Atlanta airport last Thursday afternoon that killed a 17-year-old girl and injured 39 others remains under investigation.
The fatal crash occurred around 2:30 p.m. June 8 on Camp Creek Road in South Fulton County near the intersection of Merk Road. The bus, owned and operated by Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama, was taking church members to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where they were to depart that evening for a mission trip to Botswana.
Initial reports say the eastbound church bus attempted to change lanes when it collided with a Chrysler 200 that was already traveling in the lane. The collision apparently caused the bus driver to veer to the left, possibly overcorrecting and losing control of the vehicle.
The church bus veered onto an uneven median and rolled over, sliding onto a Mercedes sedan that was traveling in the westbound lanes.
Sarah Harmening, a 17-year-old member of the church, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 39 people injured in the crash were taken to five Atlanta-area hospitals for treatment, including six people who remained hospitalized Friday afternoon with injuries believed to be non-life-threatening.
“We have a couple dealing with serious injuries but we don’t believe they’re life-threatening,” said Madison County Commissioner Phil Vandiver, whose wife and son were on the crashed church bus. “Two have possible neck fractures and one might have a sternum fracture. There’s one youth with internal injuries to some organs. Everybody that got off is just banged up, bruised and sore this morning. I think by the end day, we’ll only have three or four people still there or needing to stay longer.”
A second church bus also taking members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church to the airport for the mission trip to Africa was not involved in the crash.