4 killed, multiple people hurt after church van rear-ended in Dinwiddie

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DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Four people were killed on Tuesday when a truck pulling a trailer loaded with metal rear-ended a church van in Dinwiddie County. 

The crash occurred just before 7 p.m. on Route 460 at Zion Road. Virginia State Police said they received a report about a multi-passenger van overturning several times after being hit from behind.

The van was carrying members of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Blackstone to an event at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Dinwiddie. It was traveling west on Rt. 460 when it began to make a right turn into the church parking lot. That’s when a Ford F-450 truck, which was pulling a trailer carrying metal, failed to stop in time and struck the back of the van.

The collision caused the van to overturn multiple times and then stop on its side off the right side of Rt. 460. The truck struck a guardrail after running off the left side of Rt. 460. 

On Wednesday, 8News spoke with the pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist, Reverend Dr. Joseph Fields, who recalled the horrific moments rushing to the wreck right outside his church. The 74-year-old called it the worst thing he’s seen since the Vietnam War. 

Authorities said that 11 adults were in the van at the time of the crash and four died at the scene. Three others were flown to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries and four people in the van were transported to nearby hospitals with serious injuries.  

8News also spoke with a man named Michael Somerville at the scene who said his wife, Wartena Somerville, was one of the four people killed in the crash. Somerville said he and his wife were married for three years, and they have a 9-month-old baby girl together. 

“In disbelief right now, in disbelief, but I know the Lord, and she knew the Lord, and we know that God knows best, and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. And we just continue to pray for the families who lost loved ones,” Somerville told 8News. 

Somerville also said she was a first-grade teacher at Crewe Primary School in Nottoway County. 

Virginia State Police confirmed that the four people who didn’t survive the crash are all residents of Blackstone, Virginia: James Farley, 87, Wartena Somerville, 36, Delois Williams, 72 and Constance Wynn, 85.

The driver of the Ford F-450, 47-year-old Robert Lee Allen of Norfolk, was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries, state police said. 

The crash investigation is ongoing at this time. Charges are pending.

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