Community comes together for those involved in Pemiscot Co. cras - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Community comes together for those involved in Pemiscot Co. crash

Bobby Coleman (Source: Jerry Hudgens/cousin) Bobby Coleman (Source: Jerry Hudgens/cousin)
The van was from the Kinfolk Ridge Baptist Church in Caruthersville (Source: Allison Twaits, KFVS) The van was from the Kinfolk Ridge Baptist Church in Caruthersville (Source: Allison Twaits, KFVS)
(Source: Nikki Lou, Facebook) (Source: Nikki Lou, Facebook)
Coleman was the kind of person everyone on the fire department considered family. Coleman was the kind of person everyone on the fire department considered family.
Ariel view of the crash scene. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Ariel view of the crash scene. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
PEMISCOT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

One person was killed and nine others were injured in a crash that involved a church van in Pemiscot County, Missouri on Wednesday evening.

The crash happened on Route U at Route H, 5 miles west of Caruthersville around 7 p.m.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 32-year-old David W. Pennington of St. Louis was trying to pass an SUV driven by 24-year-old Franklin Casteel of Cooter, Missouri.

Pennington hit the SUV and then hit the church van head on, according to the MSHP.

Pennington was seriously injured and was flown to Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

According to the medical center, Pennington was in surgery on Thursday and is still recovering.

Casteel was moderately injured and taken to Memorial Hospital in Hayti.

Sgt. Clark Parrott with the MSHP said the church van caught on fire.

The driver of the van, 43-year-old Bobby L. Coleman, of Caruthersville, Mo., was taken to Pemiscot Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 7:30 p.m.

Slideshow: Remembering Bobby Coleman

According to the MSHP crash report, seven people riding in the van were injured, included a 5-year-old girl, five teenagers and one adult. Their injuries ranged from moderate to serious on Wednesday night.

As of Thursday, the second adult, 34-year-old Pamela Ings was released from the hospital.

One of the teen's condition has been upgraded from serious to satisfactory on Thursday.

Some in the van were flown to Memphis hospitals and some were taken to Pemiscot Memorial in Hayti.

The van was from the Kinfolk Ridge Baptist Church in Caruthersville and, according to the MSHP, was on its way to a banquet.

Several helicopters had to land in a field near the crash to take the injured away from the scene.

Troopers, along with members of the major crash investigation team, are still working to find a cause.

Coleman's funeral and visitation set

Visitation for Coleman is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at First Baptist Church in Caruthersville, Mo.

Coleman was an 18-year veteran. A full firefighter's funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the church.

Family and friends remember Coleman

For family and fellow firefighters to say Bobby Coleman was loved is an understatement.

A fellow firefighter at the Arteriole Fire Department said Coleman worked there for at least 20 years. He was a longtime church member and was driving kids to and from the event.

A firefighter, a friend and a wonderful father. Coleman was the kind of person everyone on the fire department considered family.

In fact, it was Coleman's brother who was one of the first responders; a fellow firefighter who arrived on scene on Wednesday night.

The entire department said they are devastated by the news. A man, they call, one of the most dependable on the team is gone. He would have been working on Thursday, in fact, sleeping at the station with uniform at his feet, ready to go.

Chief Charlie Jones said he doesn't have words to describe how much he meant to the community.

"He was a very good, Christian person; and he would do anything for you," Caruthersville Fire Chief Charlie Jones said. "He was the type that loved the fire department. He loved his church, he loved his people and he loved his family. And he had an outpouring of love for everybody he saw."

Coleman's cousin, Assistant Police Chief Jerry Hudgens, said they grew up like brothers. He also served alongside him at the fire department. He said everyone in the community loved in the same way.

Hudgens said their last day together was earlier in the week, one he's more than thankful for.

Now, he wants Coleman's legacy to live on, to reach out to anyone in need. He said he knows Bobby is smiling down from heaven knowing the children in the van are ok.

Schools, community pull together for those injured and for Coleman's family

Three teenagers injured in the crash attended the R-3 School District and the Delta C-7 School District. The driver who was killed, Bobby Coleman, has two kids that attend Caruthersville High School.

In addition to that, two kids on the bus are students at the middle school.

Caruthersville Superintendent J.J. Bullington said those students were brought to an area hospital for their injuries and are expected to be ok.

Because of the impact of the situation, counselors are on hand at both the high school and middle school.

Bullington believes the people there will help support the families that have been impacted.

"Our community has always been a close-knit community, and when there is a need or a tragedy, the community is always unbelievably generous and comes together and helps the families in need," Bullington said.

A fund has been set up for the Coleman family at Bank Star in Caruthersville.

Bullington also talked about Coleman.

"You will never hear anything said about him that is not just the epitome of a Christian man, and he does a lot," Bullington said. "The whole idea that he was picking up children to take them to church for a Valentine's event just speaks volumes of the kind of person that he is."

The family is asking for donations to go to the church Coleman was a youth pastor at, Kinfolk Ridge Baptist Church in Caruthersville.

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