FORD, Va. (AP) — Virginia state police released the identity Wednesday of a pickup truck driver who allegedly slammed into the back of a church van, killing four people and injuring eight others.
Police said the van carrying 11 people was slowing down to make a right turn into a church parking Tuesday night when it was hit by a pickup truck hauling metal.
Sgt. Keeli Hill, a state police spokeswoman, identified the truck driver as Robert Allen, 47, of Norfolk. She said charges are pending against Allen.
Four of the van’s passengers died. Seven other passengers remained hospitalized Wednesday. Allen was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and later released.
The van was carrying 11 members of Shiloh Baptist Church in Blackstone to a revival at a church in Dinwiddie County.
State police said the van was slowing to turn into the parking lot of Mount Zion Baptist Church when Allen’s Ford F-450 rear-ended it on U.S. 460. The van rolled over several times before coming to rest on its side off the right side of the road. Allen’s truck ran off the left side of the road and hit a guardrail.
Lafayette Dickens, a deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch that the van was carrying choir members who had been invited to sing at the revival. He said other choir members were traveling in a separate car and witnessed the crash.
Dickens said he and other members of his church are in “absolute shock.”
“They were such good people,” he said of the four people who were killed.
“It just hurts right now. We’ve never dealt with anything like this.”