Church van crash injures several children in Laurel County

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UPDATE 2/23/2017:

LONDON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Pastor Charles “Gary” Kirby says everyone involved in the crash is very sore but very grateful.

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He says there was a lot of low, dense fog Wednesday night and he believes the driver’s side front tire blew out causing the crash.

Kirby says the girl who was airlifted to UK Hospital has been in surgery but was last in “stable” condition and that her injuries are not considered life-threatening.  She is 12.

Everyone else involved in the crash has been released from area hospitals.

Kirby says the church van was driving kids home from the weekly dinner and bible study held at the Lick Fork Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesdays.


ORIGINAL STORY 2/22/2017:

LONDON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A church van crashed Wednesday night in Laurel County sending a dozen children to the hospital, including a girl who was airlifted to UK Hospital in Lexington, according to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say the pastor of Lick Fork Missionary Baptist Church, Charles Kirby, was driving just east of London along Sally’s Branch Road around 8:30 p.m., when he lost control of the van in a right-hand curve, left the road and hit an embankment.

Deputies say Kirby wasn’t hurt, but his front seat passenger, a girl, had to be cut out of the damaged van and airlifted to UK Hospital with serious injuries. Her name wasn’t released.

Eleven other passengers, all children, were taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital London for treatment of possible injuries, according to deputies.

Two children who were not hurt, were picked up at the scene by their parents, according to investigators.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.