The power of the community’s prayers is helping a Georgetown bishop cope after he lost three of his church’s choir members to a fiery crash in Berkeley County this week.
Bishop Floyd Knowlin of Lighthouse of Jesus Christ Church said he has received an outpouring of support in the wake of the accident that happened Wednesday night on U.S. Highway 17A near Jamestown.
Knowlin plans to honor the lives of the fallen choir members during the Sunday service, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the church on Johnson Road. Knowlin said he couldn’t cancel the service because he believes it will comfort the grieving.
“What we’ll probably do is put a photo of all three of them and do a memorial during the service with a candle burning,” Knowlin said.
Three women died and a member of the men’s chorus was injured in the 7:30 p.m. crash, which also killed another motorist. The church members were traveling in a caravan to perform at a church service in Russellville.
On Friday, S.C. Highway Patrol officials said the incident report on the crash has not yet been completed and the cause won’t be determined until their team completes the accident reconstruction. They said they don’t know how long that process will take.
Knowlin, who was traveling in the church van that was hauling musical instruments, said a passing car hit their trailer, which led to a five-car wreck. The three women who died were traveling in a sport utility vehicle that caught fire.
Edith Jackson, 55, Angie Arthur, 45, both of Georgetown, and Loris resident Melvira Johnson, 51, died from thermal burns, according to Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury.
Angie Arthur’s husband, Johnny, was badly injured, and was still in critical condition at Medical University hospital Friday. He has broken bones and his liver was punctured, according to Knowlin. The couple have twin teenage boys who Knowlin said “are holding on” as they hope for their father’s recovery.
Steven Morse, 36, of Jamestown was the driver of another car involved in the crash. He died from body trauma, Salisbury said. Morse, who was married, was a machine operator at Albany International.
If support from the community is reflected in attendance at Sunday’s service, Knowlin said, there might not be enough seats in the church for everyone. Knowlin said he’s received hundreds of phone calls from people who want to attend Sunday’s service.
“It’s been astronomical, the number of calls of support. It’s mind-boggling,” he said. “They’re calling and saying they’re praying for us.”
Funeral services for the church members who died are expected to take place between Monday and Wednesday, Knowlin said.
A visitation has been scheduled for Morse today in Moncks Corner, but his funeral and burial will be held in Marietta, Ga.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.