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Church members pray for victims of bus crash

February 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Members of a Pasadena church gathered Tuesday to pray for the victims of a bus crash that injured two dozen young congregants and killed the bus driver in San Bernardino County.

The crash happened on Monday near Lake Gregory in Crestline along SR-189. One person was killed and 23 people were injured.

The driver of the bus, Won Seok Chae, 61, was the sole fatality in the crash. He drove buses for a living and had volunteered to take his fellow church members to a retreat last Friday.

The California Highway Patrol said 10 people sustained serious injuries and 13 had minor to moderate injuries. Victims were taken to every available county hospital including Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and Loma Linda University Medical Center.

The most serious concern for physicians at Arrowhead Regional was the condition of a 12-year-old girl who suffered extreme head trauma during the crash. Also, a 17-year-old boy and a 28-year-old woman were still in the hospital and listed in critical but stable condition as of midday Tuesday.

One of the injured young people showed up for Tuesday night's service.

The deacon of the Light of Love Mission Church says only eight are still hospitalized, two or three more will be released Wednesday and none of the seriously hurt have life-threatening injuries.

The deacon says the CHP found nothing wrong with the bus.

At a news briefing, Dr. Donald Moores with the hospital's trauma team said six other crash victims have been discharged after being treated for minor injuries.

Moores said the hospitalized victims are suffering from injuries ranging from broken bones to significant head and spinal injuries.

In addition to skilled technicians, translators have played a key role, because most of the patients don't speak English.

"The main issue of course is the language barrier," said Moores. "So having translators available is a tremendous advantage."

The bus was carrying 22 people, including middle and high school-age kids, members of a Korean church called Light of Love Mission Church in Pasadena.

The crash happened as the group was heading back to Pasadena from the Pinecrest Christian Conference Center in Twin Peaks.

The bus collided head-on with an off-duty San Bernardino County Fire battalion chief and his wife in his own vehicle, a Nissan Murano, just before noon.

The CHP says the bus was last serviced in March 2010.

There were no indications alcohol contributed to the crash. The weather did not appear to be a factor either. The cause was under investigation.

The CHP says the bus was last serviced in March 2010.

A prayer service was held Monday night in Pasadena as parishioners waited for news on the victims.