Driver in deadly church van wreck appears in court

Members of Cedar Grove Baptist Church packed the courtroom Monday for the first appearance of the man accused of killing two members of their congregation in a wreck last September.

Tyler Schaeffer appears in court on Dec. 3, 2012 (WVLT/Sharee Gilbert)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Members of Cedar Grove Baptist Church packed the courtroom Monday for the first appearance of the man accused of killing two members of their congregation in a wreck last September.

Tyler Schaeffer appeared for arraignment Monday in Sevier County Criminal Court on charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and DUI.

Investigators said Schaeffer's vehicle struck the Cedar Grove Baptist Church van head on in September, killing 45-year-old youth pastor Jeff Trussell and 16-year-old Courteney Kaliszewski. Ten others were on the van when the crash occurred on Chapman Highway.

Schaeffer was hospitalized as well.

On Monday, the court appointed him a public defender and set the date for him to enter his plea for April 22, 2013.


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