MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – On Sunday, members of the Oakland High School Marching Band gathered for a prayer vigil, one day after the band was involved in a fatal crash.
The accident occurred on Highway 231 in southern Wilson County.
The band was on its way to a competition. There were 50 students onboard the bus at the time.
Band member Tommy Hathaway was among them.
He Nashville's News 2, “From what I remember, we were coming up a hill, I [saw] a red blur come at us and it gets this close then the moment of silence happens.”
That “red blur” Hathaway saw was a Dodge Durango SUV driven by 60-year old Michael Henry.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Henry crossed the center line and struck the bus around 11 a.m.
Henry died at the scene.
“All I really remember was that we crashed and I hit my head and I kind of blacked out for a second but then I heard everyone else screaming, get off [the bus], move,” band member Isaiah Edwards recalled.
“[It was] very scary, insane, honestly the scariest the scariest thing I've ever been in,” Hathaway added.
The crash injured nine students and bus driver Holly Lane.
“When I was getting carried to the ambulance, I looked over and noticed the Durango was under the bus and I just said to myself, ‘Ooh God,'” Hathaway told Nashville's News 2.
“I was scared. I was confused at what happened but then it just came together and I was just really sad,” said Edwards.
Oakland High School Band Director Ty Jessup told Nashville's News 2 the accident could have been much worse had it not been for the quick thinking of Lane.
“She was a hero, she was a hero [Saturday] morning,” Jessup said. “She saved a lot of lives. We're very lucky. We're very lucky and very thankful and very blessed to still be here.”
At Sunday's prayer vigil, band members said the tragedy has brought them a sense unity.
Jessup continued, “The bond is so much stronger [Sunday] than when we left the school Saturday morning.”
“I think all of these people are my family and to care about them and without them none of this would have been possible,” Edwards added.
Lane is still recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is expected to release more details about the investigation Monday.
- Oct. 1, 2011: School bus carrying band members involved in fatal crash