Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

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MercyMe's tour bus collides with car in Fort Wayne

This was a bit surreal to me, not because I liked their hit song but because the crash happened at an intersection that I go through almost every time I travel to Fort Wayne. As brushes with celebrities go, this is one I'd just as soon avoid.

2 dead in crash with Christian band’s bus
Pregnant driver loses fetus
Michael ZennieThe Journal Gazette
Courtesy of MercyMe

MercyMe’s tour bus hit a car early Saturday, killing two passengers and an unborn baby.

A Fort Wayne 18-year-old was still in critical condition Saturday night after a crash involving a tour bus for the band MercyMe claimed the lives of her unborn baby and two passengers.

Police believe Kara Klinker pulled into the path of the bus about 1:15 a.m., just hours after the group performed at Parkview Field in downtown Fort Wayne.

No one from the popular contemporary Christian band was seriously injured, but soon after the crash, members posted a note on the popular social-networking site Twitter.

“Car just hit our tour bus. We are ok, but 2 in the car did not make it. The one that did is pregnant. Please start praying,” the post read.

Investigators don’t know why Klinker, who was southbound on Lima Road, made an abrupt left turn onto Coliseum Boulevard West. Klinker’s Chevrolet Cavalier drove directly into the path of the northbound tour bus.

Klinker’s passengers, 17-year-old Barbara R. Schmucker and 19-year-old Dario L. Boutte, died at the scene. Klinker, who was nearly nine months pregnant, was taken to Parkview Hospital in critical condition. Her infant was declared stillborn shortly after she arrived, the Allen County Coroner’s Office said.

Boutte’s grandmother, Dorothy, said her grandson had lived in different parts of the country, though he came back to Fort Wayne two years ago to live with her.

“He loved it, and it was home to him,” she said.

Boutte had been dating Schmucker. The 17-year-old knew Klinker because they worked together at Wendy’s, Boutte said.

She did not know what the three were doing before the crash.

According to a statement from the band, the members suffered minor bumps and bruises, but it clearly left them shaken. They described their hearts as heavy and voiced disbelief in their online presence.

“Been asleep almost the whole day. Was hoping to wake up and this not be real,” band member Bart Millard wrote on his Twitter account late Saturday.

The six-man Texas-based MercyMe has recorded three No. 1 Christian singles since it formed in 1994. The band’s song “I Can Only Imagine” scored a crossover hit when it rose to No. 71 on Billboard’s pop chart in 2003.

The band’s performance Friday night was the first on-field concert at Parkview Field. The band was headed to Six Flags St. Louis for a scheduled show Saturday when the crash occurred. That concert was postponed and rescheduled for Sept. 5.

Klinker recently graduated from Northrop High School and has been working to save money for college, an aunt said. She said the 18-year-old wants to be a teacher.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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