Pastor witnesses fatal accident of 3 choir members

(Scott Garrand/WCIV)

By Ava

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- Bishop Floyd Knowlin says he has yet to get any sleep after what he witnessed Wednesday night.

"And I looked in the rearview mirror and I saw sparks. Then, when I looked again I saw a blaze of fire on the side of the road," Knowlin said Thursday.

Knowlin is the pastor of Lighthouse of Jesus Christ Church in Georgetown. He and several church members were traveling to a revival in Russellville when he felt the back of the church van sway. Then, he realized there was an accident.

"And everybody jumped out and I didn't want to believe it. When I got out I saw the man who was in the other car. Someone said he was already dead," said Knowlin. {}

Knowlin could only watch as an SUV with four church members caught on fire. According to Berkeley County Coroner Edith Jackson, Melvira Johnson and Angie Author all died from burns. Author's husband Johnny Author was pulled from the fire and taken to MUSC.

"He has three broken bones in his thigh and broken ribs," says Knowlin. {}

Knowlin said he visited the only survivor of the crash at the first chance he was given.

"I just had to go and see him and lay hands on him and pray with him. So, he could hear my voice even though he is sedated," says Knowlin.

Knowlin says the church family in Georgetown is trying to cope. He says all three women were dedicated members who served on different church boards, and all of them were in the choir.

"They are in disarray, they are so torn to pieces," says Knowlin.

Knowlin says since the accident he's received hundreds of phone calls of support. He says funeral arrangement plans are still being put together.

Coroner Bill Salisbury identified the driver of the other car, the Ford Fiesta, as 36-year-old Steven Morse, of Jamestown.