11 injured when car trying to avoid deer slams into church bus

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March 23, 2007

JOHNSTON, S.C.---A church van filled with mostly family members crashed last night, sending victims to three different hospitals.

It happened just before 10 o'clock on Long Cane Road in Johnston. That's near the Edgefield-Saluda County line.

The good news in all of this is that most of the victims will be okay, and now everyone is looking forward to going home.

"She kept saying, 'Help me, I want to get up,' but I said, 'Don't move. I don't know what's wrong with you'," accident victim Darrick Gray recalled.

Scared, confused, and upset, 18-year-old Darrick wished it was him lying on the ground instead of his 57-year-old aunt Eva Allen.

She and two other family members were thrown out of the van during the accident.

"It happened in the blink of an eye," he said. "I looked down for a minute, and I looked up, and the van was spinning."

He said the van then flipped a total of four times before it came to rest.

South Carolina Highway Patrol says the driver of a blue car was trying to avoid hitting a deer when she hit Darrick's church bus from Mt. Calvary Baptist. They hadn't driven two miles from the church parking lot when they were run off the road.

Eleven people in all were inside the van. Seven of them were Darrick's relatives.

"We were leaving Bible study, getting ready to take people home, and we came down Long Cane Road and the car hit the deer," Darrick said.

Dozens of emergency crews were called to the scene, including three helicopters. Eleven-year-old Sabrina Pixley, Allen and 22-year-old Kimberly Pixley were rushed for treatment.

Allen has nine broken ribs and a punctured lung and is being treated in ICU.

Seven others, including two non-family members, were sent to three different local hospitals.

"I prayed for them to be out of pain and bring them home back to us and not take them away from us," said Estella Gray, family member to one of the victims.

Troopers say because a deer caused the wreck, no one will be charged for the accident.

The family tells us Allen is still being treated at MCG. Their spokesperson tells us she's in critical condition.

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