Tolono, IL Church Van And Bus Crash, Jan 1995



Tolono, Ill. (AP) - A church van was struck broadside by a bus and burst into flames, trapping six children and the driver inside. All were killed, including three young brothers.
The van, driven by an assistant pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Urbana, Ill., skidded on icy pavement into the path of the bus, said Champaign County Sheriff David Madigan.
"The van was crosswise in the road, fully engulfed in flames from the engine to the rear," said David C. Well, assistant chief of the Savoy Fire Department. The accident took place Friday night in east central Illinois, about five miles south of Champaign.
While autopsies were yet to be performed, Coroner Eldon Quick said Saturday that the victims probably died instantaneously.
Quick said he met with parents at the church parsonage at 4 a.m. Saturday to give them the bad news. "They were, as you would expect, devastated," he said.
The children in the van, who ranged in age from 10 to 15, were students at the church's Calvary Christian Academy.
They were returning from a basketball game at the First Baptist Christian Academy in Rosamond, 70 miles southwest of Urbana.
The driver of the van was identified as JESSE HUGHES, 26, of Urbana.
The passengers included JOSEPH T. BARLINGAME, 15, and his brothers, BENJAMIN, 12, and AARON, 10, of Rantoul.
Also killed were JOSEPH S. FRANKLIN, II, 12, of Urbana; JOEL S. STEPHEN, 15, of Champaign; and CHRISTOPHER D. ORWIG, 11, of Champaign.
The van had traveled from the game north on Interstate 57 but turned off on a country road, Monticello Road, about 11 p.m. to drop off one student.
Roads in the area had patchy slick spots from icy rain and snow.
"I-57 had been well-salted, and the county road hadn't been salted adequately," Quick said. He speculated that the van driver was surprised by the suddenly slick roadway.
The bus driver and 10 passengers were treated or examined at hospitals and released.
The bus is owned by the Peoria Charter Coach Co. and was carrying passengers who had been bumped from flights in St. Louis to airports in central Illinois, said Roger Winkler, owner of the bus company.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Missouri 1995-01-29