The lead pastor of an Overland Park church that lost three teenagers in a crash involving a church van Friday thanked those who had offered support and asked for prayers for the families of those who were killed or injured.
“The kids we lost were amazing absolutely amazing, bright lights among us all,” Faith Chapel Assembly of God Pastor Bob Cave wrote in a public message on social media. “...To the families of our three loved ones lost to us today we are with you heart and soul and we will get through this together.”
Teenagers and chaperones from Faith Chapel Assembly of God’s three locations — Overland Park, Louisburg and Gardner, Kan. — were headed to a youth float trip when the rear tire of the church van blew out as it traveled southbound on Missouri 13.
The van, a 2001 GMC G3500 model, left the highway near an embankment five miles north of Bolivar, Mo., overturned and struck a tree.
Four people, including the three teenagers who died, were ejected. The teenagers pronounced dead at the scene were David Martin, 16, of Olathe; Hannah Foy, 14; of Louisburg, and Samara Bayse 17, of Stillwell, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Seven people, including driver Bradley Bailey, a 34-year-old youth pastor with the church, were treated at a local hospital with moderate injuries and released. Three more people were taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield with serious injuries.
On Saturday afternoon, the Kansas office of Assemblies of God said Faith Chapel pastoral staff and families were still waiting on those with serious injuries to be “released or moved to standard rooms.”
“We still have three people in need of a lot of prayer that are still in a lot of pain in the hospital,” said Faith Chapel-Louisburg pastor Jon Clayton, who called the accident “one of the hardest days in my life, ministry, and church.” “As we move forward, all people involved need lots of prayer for not only physical healing, but also emotional and spiritual healing.”
Chaperones and young people following the church van in two additional vehicles witnessed the accident. A Polk County coroner told The Star that the driver’s wife, a nurse, helped triage victims at the scene.
The Star confirmed that Bailey’s wife, Tiffany, is a nurse at St. Luke’s Cushing in Leavenworth.
“My two grandsons and all of our kids who witnessed this horrible accident will need your prayers as they process this most difficult event in their young lives,” Cave said.
According to a Facebook post by Kasey Detherage, the wife of youth pastor Travis Detherage, the float trip was planned for the Current River in Eminence, Mo.
She said her husband, three children and daughter’s boyfriend were following the church vehicles in their own car. At the last minute, one of her children had swapped out of the van and rode with the rest of the family.
“While I am so very thankful that my husband, three kids and daughter’s boyfriend were not in the vehicle that crashed, my heart is shattered for the three babies who will not be coming home tonight, the three still being treated at the hospital, and the many families who were impacted today.”
The Star has reached out to Cave and other youth pastors, who asked for privacy at this time.
A GoFundMe has been created to support the families affected by the crash.