UPDATE: 8:46 a.m. Thursday from news conference in Dandridge with Tennessee Highway Patrol and Jefferson County EMA.

Investigators say they're working to identify victims of a crash in Jefferson County, Tennessee on Thursday.

According to Sergeant Bill Miller with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the crash was so horrific they will need dental records to positively identified some.

In a Thursday morning news conference Miller said 14 patients remain at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He says two of those patients are critical, five are serious and seven are stable.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol also found out the bus was owned by a church in Statesville, North Carolina. They say the 18 on board were on a senior trip. Investigators have not found out who the bus driver is at this time. They tell us the bus had seat belts.

Miller says the bus had a malfunction causing it to hit a Tahoe and then a tractor trailer which ignited the fire. He tells us some people were pinned in the bus.

Now, investigators say they will determine the speed, interview witnesses and find the service records from the bus.

They tell us twenty agencies worked this scene and some bystanders also came to help out. Crews were there within five minutes.

Interstate 40 has reopened.


UPDATE: 5:50 a.m. Thursday from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

As of 5:15 a.m. Thursday, all lanes of Interstate 40 eastbound and westbound at mile marker 424 are now open and traffic is moving.


UPDATE: 10:26 p.m.: From the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

The American Red Cross has provided a contact number for individuals who may have had loved ones involved in this afternoon’s bus crash in Jefferson County (TN). Those individuals can contact 865-305-5716 for more information.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will participate in a press conference held by the Jefferson County EMA and EMS on tomorrow at 8 a.m. on this afternoon’s crash on Interstate-40 westbound at mile marker 423 in Jefferson County.  

Troopers said the roadway could remain closed until Thursday morning.

We heard from witnesses at the scene.

"Yeah it was a loud boom," said Harold Ross. "It sounded like an explosion and I was several miles away"

A charter bus on Interstate 40, with 18 people on board, hit the back of a Sports Utility Vehicle and then collided with a tractor trailer, Tennessee Highway Patrol told us.

"I was leaving the golf course,it was 2:00, 2:30 range,and I saw 2 shoots of smoke, black smoke go up in the air," Ross said. "Then they came together. They started out separate and they came together almost instantly."

The tractor trailer erupted in flames on impact.

Tennessee Highway Patrol told us the driver, the only person on board, was killed during the crash.

Six people from the bus also died, and one person riding in the SUV.

There were three people in the SUV when it was hit.