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Church bus crash causes traffic jam, injures 15

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A three-vehicle crash involving a church group gave an early start to Friday's rush hour traffic.

Several lanes of Interstate 85 north near Steve Reynolds Boulevard were closed for more than two hours, beginning with the 1:15 p.m. accident, said Gwinnett Police Cpl. Jake Smith.

The group was traveling from Florida to the Gwinnett Center for a conference when the vehicles, two small buses and a pickup truck all related to the church, were involved in rear-end collisions.

About 15 of the church members complained of injuries and several were transported to the hospital for evaluation. "Nothing from the surface appeared to be life-threatening," Smith said.

A couple of minor crashes in the wake of the accident and some debris in the road may have contributed to the traffic, he added.

A Gwinnett Police chaplain aided the church, contacting Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula to borrow a bus to get members to their hotel.

"They almost made it (to their destination)," Smith said. "They were like three exits away."

One of the drivers was issued a citation for following too closely, he added.