The Warren County Coroner’s Office said Cheesman’s death was caused by blunt force trauma.
Cheesman owned and operated Middletown Transmission, where he started working at age 16. Besides driving the church bus, he volunteered at Serving Homeless Alternate Lodging Of Middletown (SHALOM), helped with the men’s fellowship breakfast and was a sixth- to eighth-grade youth leader.
News of the Sunday morning fatal crash spread quickly through local churches. Jackson said he announced at the and of church services that there was a serious crash involving a church bus. His congregation was stunned.
“You could tell by peoples’ reactions that they were heartbroken,” he said. “When something bad happens at one church, it affects all churches. Church should be a safe place and whether it’s an accident or a shooting, or any type of negative, you feel for the other churches. You realize, ‘Wow, that could happen here.’”
As the crash happened, Ferrell was preparing to deliver his Super Sunday service that addressed a 24-month financial commitment to the church. He was informed about the accident and quickly sent staff members to the scene. Pastor Jimmy Tinch Sr. used a Berachah van to transport some of those on the bus to Franklin Church.
Ferrell told his congregation about Cheesman’s death and compared it to the sudden death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, who, along with eight others, was killed in a helicopter crash.
“The world will not know about Archie Cheesman who was picking up kids and taking them to church,” Ferrell said.
After the service, Ferrell drove to the crash scene and took a photo of Duke Energy workers repairing an utility pole that resembled a cross. Ferrell tweeted that he was “saddened to hear news this morning about a faithful servant of God” being killed. He ended his tweet with a hashtag: TheCrossSaysItAll.
The day after the crash, Ferrell called Franklin Church of God to offer to host the visitation and funeral. When told Towne Church was hosting, Ferrell offered to feed those after the funeral.
“We are always looking for those who are hurting,” he said. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through. It could have been us. It was the least we could do.”
Bill Fugate, volunteer coordinator at SHALOM, noted the efforts of the two churches.
“This was a tremendous expression of unity by our communities’ churches and was greatly appreciated by those who knew and loved Archie Cheesman,” he said. “The outpouring of love, affection and appreciation for Archie are nearly indescribable.”
Ferrell was asked why churches with different names and even different philosophies come to the assistance of other churches.
“At the end of the day, if God wins, we win,” he said. “We are on the same team. This is not a competition. This is a community.”