Church Bus Driver Killed In An Accident

April 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A bus driver taking students on a missionary trip was killed today on the drive back home.The accident happened just outside of Merced on Highway 99 and Franklin Avenue.

This group of high school and college students from Sierra Pines Church in Oakhurst is used to making a joyful noise together.

But Friday's song was filled with sorrow, after they witnessed their bus driver, 40-year-old John Haen, get hit and killed along Highway 99.

"He died doing what he loved to do, to bring kids close to god."

Michel Musacchio is the youth pastor at Sierra Pines Church.

He was one of 41 people aboard this bus, which was heading back from a three-day missionary trip in San Francisco.

When the bus ran out of gas, Haen walked to a nearby gas station to buy fuel.

After returning back to the bus with a CHP officer by his side, Haen started filling up. That's when a tractor trailer swerved, killing Haen and totaling an unoccupied CHP vehicle.

"I heard something hit the bus and I felt it kinda tip over and it landed back."

"People started crying immediately and I just looked around trying to figure out how everyone was doing and what was happening."

Haen had been the youth group's driver for several years. He was also a member of their church, who helped out at every mission.

He leaves behind a family and a community, who will continue to praise the work he's done and the memory he leaves behind.

There is no word yet on whether or not the driver of the trailer will face any charges.

Sierra Pines Church is planning a vigil for Haen sometime this weekend.

In the meantime, they are offering counseling to all of the students who were aboard that bus.

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