Pastor, 3 others die in church van crash

Associated Press / October 5, 2010

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BLAKELY, Ga. — An aging church van headed to an out-of-state revival blew a tire on a highway and flipped repeatedly, ejecting all 19 people on board and killing the pastor, his daughter, and two others, authorities said yesterday.

A woman who survived told investigators that “everybody just flew out of the van,’’ said Todd Hunter, Early County coroner.

“She said she remembered rolling, but didn’t know if she was rolling inside or outside of the van,’’ Hunter said.

In addition to those who died, 15 passengers were injured in the crash Sunday evening on US 27 south of Blakely, said Gordy Wright, spokesman for the Georgia State Patrol.

The dead included Apostle Ronmyka D. Williams, the 35-year-old pastor of Tabernacle of Prayer and Deliverance in Columbus, and his 13-year-old daughter, Jasmine Shelly, said the pastor’s brother, Michael Williams.

The State Patrol identified the other two killed as 20-year-old Jennifer Walton and 19-year-old Cameron Freeman. All were from Columbus.

Wright said the passengers ranged in age from 11 months to adults in their 40s.

He said all 15 survivors were taken to hospitals, with several being airlifted to hospitals in Tallahassee and Dothan, Ala.

Wright said it appears no one in the van was wearing a seat belt. The van, a 1987 Dodge Ram Wagon with an intended capacity of 15 passengers, was from Williams’s church.

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