State Department of Safety and Homeland Security spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said in an email 18 people were on the bus, six of whom were killed. One person among the three in the SUV was killed, and the tractor-trailer driver also died.
Qualls said Thursday that all lanes of the interstate had reopened by 5:15 a.m.
Brady Johnson, superintendent of the Iredell County-Statesville City Schools, said a lot of people who work for the school system are church members. Johnson said he knew people on the bus and they were awaiting word on the conditions.
Johnson said the church had adopted N.B. Mills Elementary School, providing volunteers and school supplies for needy children.
Now, the school system is offering a high school auditorium as a site for a memorial.
"It hits the community as a whole when tragedy strikes. The whole community comes together," he said.
Loller reported from Nashville, Tenn. Weiss reported from Statesville, N.C. Associated Press writers Kristin M. Hall in Dandridge and Skip Foreman in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.
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Topic: General news,Accidents,Accidents and disasters,Transportation
Location: Tennessee,Statesville,United States,North America,North Carolina