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3rd teen dies after MercyMe bus crash

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The teenage driver of the car that collided with the tour bus carrying the band MercyMe in Fort Wayne, Ind., died Aug. 12.

The driver, 18-year-old Kara Klinker, was nine months pregnant at the time, and her unborn child was pronounced stillborn shortly after the crash in the early hours of Aug. 8.

“Along with many of you, we have learned of the passing of the driver of the car from the accident on Saturday,” MercyMe said in a statement after Klinker’s death. “Our hearts continue to break for these families and all those who knew them.

“We continue to pray and ask your prayers for everyone affected by this accident, that God would bring healing, comfort, peace and understanding at a time when they are desperately needed,” the group said.

In addition to the mother and child, two of the car’s passengers, Dario Boutte, 19, and Barbara Schmucker, 17, died of blunt-force trauma. MercyMe had wrapped up a concert in Fort Wayne, and around 1:15 a.m. their bus was traveling through a green light when Klinker, in an oncoming lane, attempted a left turn in front of the bus. MercyMe band members and crew sustained minor bumps and bruises.

“MercyMe would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support and prayers that have been said not only for them, but for the families affected by this tragic accident,” the band said in a previous statement Wednesday morning.

“We have been in continued communication with the chaplaincy program at the Ft. Wayne Police Department, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone affected by this situation.

“Every night on stage when we introduce our song, ‘Bring the Rain,’ we talk about God being in control. If we believe what we say, then we must continue to look at how He will get the glory through this, and bring healing to so many.

“We resumed our touring schedule in Milwaukee Monday evening. Before beginning the concert Bart addressed the crowd for all of us, expressing our heartbreak for the families in Ft. Wayne and our desire to pray for the families and for the young lady who still remains hospitalized. The crowd joined us in prayer specifically praying for healing, comfort, peace and understanding. We thank all of you for continuing to pray.”
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach.

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