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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Tennessee bishop offers prayers, pastoral outreach after tragic bus crash

After an horrific school bus crash in Chattanooga left at least six children dead on 21st November, the Bishop of Knoxville, Richard F. Stika, offered his prayers and said priests in the diocese would be available to provide pastoral help.

‘My prayers tonight are with the victims and families of the terrible bus crash in Chattanooga,’ he said in a tweet. ‘I remain in contact with our Catholic priests in southeast Tennessee and we will make ourselves available to anyone in need.’

The bus driver, Johnthony Walker, 24, faced five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

Law enforcement said that based on the physical evidence at the crash scene and what witnesses saw, Walker apparently was driving the bus well above the 30 mph speed posted for the area.

News accounts said 35 students in kindergarten through fifth-grade from Woodmore Elementary School were on the bus when it slammed into a tree and came apart. Six children were killed and several others were injured.

Picture: Rescue officials are seen at the site of a school bus crash involving several fatalities in Chattanooga, Tenn., on 21st November. (CNS photo/Chattanooga Fire Department via Reuters).