Truck driver charged in church van crash that killed 4

4 dead, multiple injured in crash involving church van in Dinwiddie

DINWIDDIE, Va. (WWBT) - A 47-year-old Norfolk man faces a charge in a crash that killed four people and left several others injured after a church van was rear-ended in Dinwiddie County.

The crash occurred in the area of Zion Road just before 7 p.m. on May 28.

State police said the van was traveling west on Route 460 when it slowed to make a turn into a church parking lot. Police said a Ford-450 truck, driven by Robert Lee Allen, was pulling a trailer loaded with metal rear-ended the van, which caused it to overturn several times before it landed on its side. The truck ran off the side of the road and hit a guardrail.

Allen was charged June 10 with reckless driving.

State police said there were 11 passengers in the van, four of whom died at the scene, three were flown to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries and four others were taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals with serious injuries.

Officials with VCU Medical Center said three adult female patients were flown to the hospital for treatment and are expected to survive. An additional patient was also being transported to VCU Medical Center, according to hospital officials.

Allen was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

A deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church in Blackstone said his wife, Wartena Somerville, was one of the victims in the crash. He said she was a teacher a Crewe Elementary School and sang in the choir. Michael Somerville said the two have a 9-month-old daughter together.

A deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church in Blackstone said his wife, Wartena Somerville, was one of the victims in the crash.
A deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church in Blackstone said his wife, Wartena Somerville, was one of the victims in the crash. (Source: Michael Somerville)

James Roy Farley, 87, Constance Wynn, 85, and Delois Williams, 72, were also identified as victims in the crash.

James Roy Farley
James Roy Farley (Source: Family photo)
Constance Wynn
Constance Wynn (Source: Courier Record Newspaper)

The deacon said they were traveling to Mt. Zion to for a revival.

The Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting with the crash investigation.

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