Seven members of a Bronx church were killed on Interstate 87 near Woodbury yesterday when their van blew a tire and flipped over on the road. The Joy Fellowship Christian Assemblies church members were heading to a banquet in Schenectady when the rear tire exploded, causing driver Bernard Lattibuediere to lose control. Among the dead are the church's Bishop, Simon White, and his wife, Zelda.

Nine of the 14 passengers were ejected from the car during the crash, and six were pronounced dead at the scene. Maj. Robert Meyers of the New York State Police told the Daily News the scene was grisly, saying, "It was a pretty significant event in my professional career to have seen something like that." Victim Miriam Edwards died overnight at Jacobi Hospital, and an eighth survivor is is "under heavy sedation and it does not look good."

The Pentecostal church had only 60 members, mostly Jamaican immigrants, and many gathered at the Bronx church last night to mourn the loss of their Bishop, Pastor and other congregants. Patrick Richards, husband of crash survivor Judith Richards, said, "It's a small church, and everyone keeps together. It's just so tragic what's happened. It's not something you plan for." After the crash, northbound lanes on the Thruway were blocked until 10 p.m. last night.