Twelve children and an adult were injured Thursday evening when a church van crashed into a pickup truck driven by a Columbus police officer”s stepson.
The 1993 Ford F-350 Club van was going around a curve westbound on Holly Hills Road when a 2003 Ford F-150 pulled out from Boyd Road at about 6:30 p.m.
The van, which belonged to Truevine Christian Life Center, hit the southbound truck before continuing 249 feet into a small ditch on the right-hand side of the road.
The driver of the van, Niclaus M. Tate, who turned 33 Thursday, was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, along with his 12 passengers between 7 and 17.
Their injuries were not life-threatening, although two children had broken bones, two had whiplash and several had contusions, said Truevine Pastor Francisco Brock.
The van, which was part of a four-vehicle caravan, was on its way to Dominion and Power Church in Tupelo, Brock said.
The driver of the pickup, 16-year-old Hunter F. Ward, was uninjured, despite the van hitting the driver”s side.
Columbus police initially responded to the collision. Chief Joseph St. John handed the investigation over to the Sheriff”s Department after finding that Ward was the stepson of a police officer.
But Brock said the deputy the Sheriff”s Department sent was a cousin of a police officer, and neither the city nor the county investigated the wreck fairly.
“They never asked one time if any children were OK,” Brock said. “And that hurts my feelings. They didn”t even care.”
Howard said the deputy sent to the scene was the one on duty, and that there was no bias in the investigation.
“(The deputy”s ties to the police department) certainly didn”t have anything to do with it,” he said.
No one was ticketed in the accident, Howard said.
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