No charges in bus crash that killed 4

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina authorities said Wednesday they won’t file criminal charges against the South Carolina church that owned a bus that crashed, killing four people.

The state Highway Patrol said the driver of the bus lost control when a tire blew Sept. 17, causing the bus to hit the median guardrail and strike cement bridge support columns on U.S. 74 near Hamlet.

Sandy River Baptist Church in Chester, South Carolina, owned the bus, which received an estimated $25,000 damage, the Highway Patrol report said. No one answered the church phone Wednesday, and it didn’t have voicemail.

The Highway Patrol filed four civil penalties against the church for non-wreck-related violations, including improper registration plates. The fine for all four penalties is about $150, said Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Jeff Gordon.

Federal investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration haven’t been completed, Gordon said.

The driver of the bus, Brian Kirkpatrick, 43, of Chester was killed, as were Darice Hicks, 10, of Rock Hill, South Carolina; Devonte Gibson, 21, of Rock Hill, South Carolina; and Tito Hamilton, 19, of Pahokee, Florida.

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