Church Van Crash Leaves Multiple Teens Injured, 15-Year-Old Clinging to Life: 'A Tragic Day'

“These were kids who had just spent a weekend serving their community," said the head of Georgia's Trinity Classical School

<p>Darren Mower/Getty</p>

Darren Mower/Getty

A 15-year-old boy is on life support and other passengers were left injured after a driver ran a red light on a Georgia highway and crashed into their church van, authorities said.

The van, carrying nine members of River Point Community Church in Demorest, collided with the SUV at the intersection of Demorest Mt. Airy Highway and GA 365 in Habersham County at around 1:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, June 29, according to a Georgia State Police (GSP) news release obtained by PEOPLE.

Five of the seven teenage passengers on board were injured in the accident, including the 15-year-old, who was airlifted to Children’s Egleston Hospital in Atlanta. Three juvenile passengers sustained serious injuries and were transported by Habersham EMS to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, GSP said.

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State Patrol spokesman Joshua Staff told Now that the 15-year-old boy is on life support.

According to the GSP’s investigation, a Toyota 4Runner driven by 64-year-old Barry Clark of Hartwell was traveling east on Demorest Mt. Airy Highway when it allegedly failed to stop at the traffic light at the Georgia 365 intersection and crashed into the Ford Econoline van.

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Following the impact, the SUV rotated and came to a stop, while the van traveled onto the concrete median before coming to a stop.

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Clark, who was also injured in the wreck, was allegedly found to be driving under the influence (DUI) and was charged accordingly, GSP said.

Frank Ciresi, 29, the driver of the church van, was uninjured in the collision.

On June 30, River Point Community Church pastor Kevin Mangum addressed the accident, which involved at least four students from Trinity Classical School in Mt. Airy.

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“Yesterday was a tragic day in the life of our church,” he said, and he asked for prayers for the victims.

The occupants of the van were on their way back from a two-day local community mission project, said Susan Ramsey, the head of Trinity Classical School, per Now Habersham.

“These were kids who had just spent a weekend serving their community," Ramsey said. "That makes me both immensely proud of them and equally saddened that this is the way their weekend ended."

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