A total of four people were transported to the hospital by ambulance early Sunday afternoon after a church bus went over an embankment.
The only people on the bus at the time of the crash were the driver, Vernon Fore, 59, of Williamsburg, his wife, and their two granddaughters.
Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy John Hill, who investigated the crash, said crash was reported about 12:25 p.m., and happened on Highway 204 just east of River Road.
Fore was driving the van when one of his granddaughters, who was in the back of the vehicle, thought she saw a bear in the field. Fore slowed down, and then attempted to back up the vehicle in order to get a better look at the bear, Hill said.
Fore told police that when he attempted to back up, he apparently went off the road into a deep concrete culvert that runs under the road. The vehicle ended up coming to rest on its front end.
Hill said that he isn’t sure how the vehicle ended up front end down in the culvert if it backed into the culvert.
No extrication was required. All four occupants were out of the van when Hill arrived at the scene.
Whitley County EMS treated them all at the scene, and transported them to Baptist Health Corbin.
The van, which belonged to Pleasant Hill Church of God, had front end damage, and a partially collapsed roof. It is a total loss, Hill said.
The accident could have been a lot worst, Hill noted.
Hill said he doesn’t know whether the van had other passengers that were dropped off prior to the crash. It was just Fore’s family inside the van when it crashed.
Sheriff Todd Shelley, Kentucky State Police Trooper Matt Ridner, Constable Jim Thornton and members of the Woodbine Fire and Rescue all assisted at the scene.