Funerals and memorial services for the four local people killed in Saturday’s bus crash are being planned, even as federal and state investigators look into the cause of the crash in North Carolina that injured more than 40 people.
The bus was carrying members of the Ramah Juco Academy football team and others – most affiliated with Clinton College in Rock Hill – to Fayetteville, N.C., when it crashed into a guardrail and bridge after a tire blew near Hamlet, N.C., police said.
The bus, owned by Sandy River Baptist Church of Chester, remains under a federal and state investigation over its safety and its tires, and the bus’ legal status as a carrier, said Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. Investigators were expected to interview people in Chester Tuesday and had been inspecting the bus in North Carolina.
Clinton College will hold a memorial service at 7 p.m. Thursday in the campus gym to memorialize Clinton students Devonte Gibson and Tito Hamilton, who were killed in the crash. Many other Clinton students who were on the bus also were hurt.
Gibson, 21, grew up in Rock Hill but moved to Michigan, where he was born, after high school. He recently returned to South Carolina to study at Clinton.
Hamilton, 19, is from Florida and, like Gibson had only been at Clinton, since the beginning of August for the fall semester.
Both were members of the Ramah football team, which was traveling to play its first-ever game when the bus crashed.
Brandon Frederick, owner of Frederick Memorial Center in Chester, which is handling local arrangements, said funerals for Gibson and Hamilton are expected in their home states.
Darice Lamont Hicks Jr., 8, of Rock Hill, also was killed in the crash. He was on the bus with his father, one of the Ramah coaches. A memorial service for Darice is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at the South Pointe High School auditorium, funeral home officials said. Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Robinson Funeral Home, said Monique Robinson of the funeral home. Darice was a third-grader at Ebenezer Avenue Elementary School in Rock Hill.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been set for Brian Andre Kirkpatrick, 43, of Chester, a member of the church who was driving the bus.