KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Knoxville police have released new details in a deadly Tuesday afternoon crash involving two school buses. Two students and an adult were killed. They have been identified as 6-year-old Zykia Burns, 7-year-old Seraya Glasper and 46-year-old Kim Riddle.
"We just ask the community to pray for the loss of life," said Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch as he fought back tears. "It's a horrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones."
According to a preliminary investigation, Knox County school bus 44 from Chilhowee Intermediate School was traveling east on Asheville Highway when, for an unknown reason, it made a sharp left turn and crossed over a concrete median.
Police say bus 44 then hit the westbound Knox County school bus 57 carrying students from Sunnyview Primary School.
Bus 57 flipped onto its side and continued sliding until it came to a rest across both westbound lanes. The three victims who were killed were traveling in bus 57.
Rausch says twenty children were transported non-emergency to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital from bus 57 with cuts, scrapes, bruises and other non-life threatening injuries. Those students have been discharged from the hospital.
Rausch says several parents with children on bus 44 also took their children to East Tennessee Children's Hospital for observation.
Two children, identified as Jaden Allen, 7, and Jada Parman, 7, as well as one adult from bus 57 were taken to UT Medical Center for treatment of multiple injuries. Jada is listed in stable condition; all other patients have been released except the driver of bus 44, identified as 47-year-old James Davenport of Mascot, Tenn., who was transported to UT Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol are also on the scene and will conduct an inspection on the buses. The NTSB is sending a crash investigation team to Knoxville and will assist in the investigation.
Knox County School officials say schools are closed Wednesday, but grief counselors will be there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as a resource for parents and students.
A candlelight vigil has been planned for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Church Street United Methodist Church parking lot, at 900 Henley Street in Knoxville.
Piney Grove Methodist Church at 6833 Pine Grove Road will also be open to the public from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Wednesday night.
The Knoxville Police Department says two children and one adult have been killed in a crash involving two school buses on Asheville Highway at John Sevier Highway.
Knox County Schools says the buses were bus number 44, serving Chilhowee Intermediate School, and bus number 57, serving Sunnyview Primary School.
Police say it happened around 2:50 p.m. on Asheville Highway. Bus 44 suffered front end damage; bus 57 flipped on the side. Police say the accident investigation will continue on scene for several hours.
UT Medical Center reports they are treating three patients but has not released further information on those patients.
Several children on board the buses were taken to East Tennessee Children's Hospital; hospital staff report none of the children treated there were suffering from life-threatening injuries.
"We've been told that 20 children had shown up at Children's Hospital. And we know that the majority of those, 18 of them, were on the Sunnyview Bus. And we transported them on a KAT bus," said Knoxville Police Department Chief David Rausch.
Knox County Schools superintendent said school principals were on scene; he said both at Sunnyview and Chilhowee schools will have counselors on site tomorrow.
"When something like this happens, it's tragic and it hurts," said Knox County Schools superintendent Jim McIntyre. "We lost some members of our Knox County Schools family; some of our youngest children."
All lanes of westbound Asheville Highway are blocked; the Knoxville Police department says those lanes will remain blocked until at least midnight as the investigation continues.
Rausch says members of the Knoxville Police Department, the Knox County Sheriff's Department, the Tennesee Highway Patrol, Knoxville Fire Department, Rural Metro and Knox County School Security were all on scene to assist and to try to connect parents and children.
"It really was a huge effort, and we're really appreciative of everyone's effort on this," Rausch said. "We ask the community to pray for the loss of lives."
"It's a horrible tragedy," Rausch said. "Our hearts go out to the families who have lost family members today."
This is a developing story. Stay with Local 8 News and Local8Now.com for the latest.