BLACKSTONE, Va. (WWBT) – As revival services were set to get underway at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Dinwiddie Tuesday night, a van full of 11 worshipers from Shiloh Baptist Church in Blackstone was involved in a fatal crash outside of the church doors.
“All of a sudden we heard a big boom," said Rev. Dr. Joseph Fields Jr., pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Dinwiddie. “I went to see who I could help save in that van; unfortunately, I couldn’t get no doors open."
Fields says despite his best efforts, as well as the efforts of the driver that crashed into Shiloh Baptist’s van, they couldn’t get people out.
Inside of the van were parents, grandparents, husbands, wives — entrepreneurs, educators and history makers.
“One church member hurts, everybody hurts," said Fields.
Family and friends are now holding onto memories of Constance Wynn, the first black woman to be elected to the Blackstone Town Council.
Delois Williams was a retired beautician, remembered for the way she cared for clients beyond the chair.
Eighty-seven-year-old James Farley’s granddaughter said he opened his home to anyone in need. She says he was always there to just talk and that he was “famous for his sweet potato pies.”
Wartena Somerville was a teacher in Nottoway and a mother to a 9-month-old girl. She left home Tuesday to sing in the choir.
"They were going to another church to celebrate God and to worship," Billy Coleburn said. "If you're a believer, there's no doubt in your mind where they are today."