The insurer for a South Carolina church has agreed to pay $2 million to the victims of a September 2016 bus crash that killed four passengers and injured dozens of others, most of them members of a community college football program.
Southern Mutual Church Insurance Company agreed to pay the full amount of the insurance policy held by Sandy River Baptist Church of Chester, South Carolina. The payout includes $1 million for liability claims and $1 million for under-insured motorist claims, The (Charlotte, North Carolina) Herald reports.
The Sandy River Baptist Church bus was transporting about two dozen football players from Clinton College of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and the Ramah Juco Academy, a privately run football program that helps underserved athletes obtain college athletics scholarships.
The church bus was heading to Raeford, North Carolina, for its opening game when a tire blowout caused the bus driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a bridge on U.S. 74 near Rockingham, North Carolina.
The crash killed the church bus driver, two Clinton College students, and the 8-year-old son of one of the coaches. Another 39 passengers were injured.
Plaintiffs who sued the church and its insurance company claimed the church was at fault for renting out a bus that should not have been used for commercial purposes. Lawyers for plaintiffs are also seeking the manufacturer and dealer of the tire and plan to hold them accountable for the crash as well.
“It is clear that the wreck was caused by the tire, and the church should never have had the bus on the road,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs told The Herald.
The crash caused the team to cancel its 2016 season, but it is practicing for the 2017 season.
A retired circuit court judge has been appointed to review, allocate, and disburse the settlement funds among the plaintiffs.