NC driver arrested after fatal church bus crash on I-85 - FOX Carolina 21

NC driver arrested after fatal church bus crash on I-85

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Christopher Michael Mezzapesa (Source: ACSO) Christopher Michael Mezzapesa (Source: ACSO)
(FOX Carolina/ Sep. 26, 2016) (FOX Carolina/ Sep. 26, 2016)
The bus after it was righted (FOX Carolina/ Sep. 26, 2016) The bus after it was righted (FOX Carolina/ Sep. 26, 2016)
TOWNVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A North Carolina driver is behind bars after his involvement in a bus crash on I-85 south near mile marker 9 on Sept. 26 resulted in the death of a woman, according to troopers.

I-85 south was shut down at mile marker 11 due to a crash involving a church bus and a pickup truck, which happened just before 10 a.m. The church bus overturned after being struck in the rear by the truck, troopers said.

Troopers said the driver of the pickup was not hurt, but was initially issued a citation for reckless driving. He was identified as 30-year-old Christopher Michael Mezzapesa of Charlotte.

Mezzapesa was charged with a reckless homicide death, according to arrest warrants. He was booked into the Anderson County Sheriff's Office on Monday.

All thirteen people on board the bus, including the driver, were taken from the crash scene by ambulance. Emergency dispatchers said four patients were in critical condition.

Traffic was moving slowly in the area by 11:30 a.m. and traffic was still backed up as of 1 p.m. At 1:30 p.m. troopers said both southbound lanes would likely be closed for an hour as tow trucks removed the wrecked vehicles and encouraged drivers to use the following detour: Exit 11 to Highway 24 to Highway 243 and then back onto I-85 South at Exit 4.

The bus was carrying members from Homeland Park Baptist Church's senior citizen group.  The group was heading to Unicorn State Park and Helen, GA on Monday morning.

The pastor of the church posted on Facebook around 4 p.m. to say he was released from the hospital. He recognized first responders and officials at AnMed for their help in treating his parishioners.

On Tuesday, the Anderson County Coroner's Office confirmed one of the bus occupants died at the hospital.

The victim was identified as 69-year-old Shirley Ann Romine. She passed away at Greenville Healthcare System due to multiple traumatic injuries.

Mezzapesa was issued a $10,000 bond.

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