By Philip Timothy, Managing Editor
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fl. – A 30-passenger bus carrying youth and chaperons from Philadelphia Baptist Church in Deville headed to a Senior High Camp left the roadway and hit a tree Friday afternoon, June 26.
The crash was reported at 3:10 p.m. just west of State Road 331 near DeFuniak Springs, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
According to a statement from Walton County Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr., the accident took place near Exit 35 on I-10 in Walton County, Fla., and 20 were taken to four area hospitals with extensive but non-life threatening injuries.
Seven were taken to Healthmark Regional Medical Center in DeFuniak Springs; one was taken to Twin Cities Hospital in Niceville; seven were taken to Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast in Miramar Beach; and five were taken to North Okaloosa Medical Center in Crestview.
The remaining 40 members of the church party were in a second b
us and a passenger van that were traveling with the bus that wrecked. They were taken to DeFuniak Springs Community Center for the night.
“We are so very thankful for God’s grace,” texted Philadelphia Pastor Philip Robertson. “All of our students and adults that were involved in the bus accident have been discharged from the hospital except for three. Two are being held for observation.”
A third person, Madison Bonnette of Deville, received the most extensive injury of the group as she suffered a broke pelvis.
“Please continue to pray for Madison and for all involved,” Robertson’s text read. “The group will be traveling back home tomorrow.”
As news of the wreck got out, a number of churches in the area sent out text and emails asking for immediate prayer for all of those involved. Stewart Holloway, pastor of First Pineville, wrote “please be in prayer for our friends at Philadelphia Baptist Church. Their youth were heading to Florida today one of their buses was involved in an accident.”
Holloway asked every one to pray:
- For those with injuries to be completely healed.
- For safe travel for the families that are now traveling to Florida to be with their injured loved ones
- For the staff of Philadelphia as they minister in a difficult time.
- For God to be all over this situation providing healing, comfort, grace and united to our brothers and sisters in Christ at Philadelphia.
Numerous people also took to Facebook to offer up prayers and words of encouragement.
Amber Moran, Bonnette’s cousin, posted on her Facebook page, “God was watching over them for sure, praise the lord!!”