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Oakwood University looking to help victim's family after deadly crash in San Francisco

Oakwood University officials tell WAAY 31 counselors, chaplains and pastors are all in place for the choir to return from a traumatic trip to California.

Posted: May 6, 2019 5:48 PM
Updated: May 6, 2019 7:47 PM

Oakwood University is turning its attention to helping the victim's family after a deadly weekend crash.

The school's choir was traveling in San Francisco over the weekend when their bus crashed into a car, causing a chain reaction. The bus caught fire, and a person in another car died. 

Oakwood University officials say counselors, chaplains and pastors are all in place for the choir to return from a traumatic trip to California.

"It could have been worse... It could have easily been 20 Oakwood staff and students that were being laid to rest," the university spokesman, Kenn Dixon, said. 

Dixon is grateful the Aeolians and staff members are safe after Saturday morning's fiery crash. Dixon says the fire destroyed all of the award-winning choir's personal belongings.

The group has no clothes, passports or identification. With a little help, they still performed over the weekend.

"It was probably the student's decision, because they went there for a mission to minister to people in the bay area," Dixon said. "They are very resilient and would always want to complete what they started."

Dixon says Old Navy donated clothes to each of the students and staff members impacted. Men's Warehouse gave the choir tuxedos and gowns needed for the show to go on. Now, the university is focusing its attention on the man who died.

"But we kind of want to shift, we are thinking about how we can impact the lives of the family that lost their loved one," Dixon said. 

A California coronor's office confirmed 51-year-old Kenneth Bishop died in the crash. Oakwood officials have not been able to get in contact with Bishop's family at this time.

Back on campus, the school has counselors and church leaders prepared to work with the choir after the traumatic experience. Campus is empty until graduation. Martez Gordon attends Alabama A&M, and he says hearing fellow college students just down the street were in danger was frightening.

"You can always get materialistic things back, you can always buy those things back, but your life...You can never get that back," Gordon said. 

Dixon tells WAAY 31 they're discussing ways to help Bishop's family, but nothing is set in stone. The school is accepting relief for the students who lost everything. You can donate here. 

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