Vans are a common mode of transportation among group travelers like school teams and church groups. Unfortunately, these vehicles are not always as safe as we would like to think.
The rollover rate of passenger vans carrying 10 or more occupants is about three times higher than that of vans with fewer than five people, according to the NHTSA.
Recently, eight people died and ten others were injured in a tragic church van accident in Glades County, Florida, reports Fox 29. The incident was disastrous: at around 12:30 a.m., the van ran a stop sign, crossed all of the rural highway’s four lanes, and took a steep nosedive to a canal.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Gregory S. Bueno described the embankment as “very steep”. It slopes down by about eight to ten feet and ends in shallow water, where the van landed.
The male driver and seven of his passengers died, while ten other passengers sustained injuries and were taken to hospitals. The injured includes a 4-year-old child who is now in serious condition and who Bueno said was not in a car seat when the accident occurred. Four other injured persons are adults who are in critical condition.
The van, which was traveling back to a Fort Pierce church after a Fort Meyers convention, contained 18 people when it crashed, said Bueno. This was more than the vehicle’s standard capacity of 15 seats.
Chief Deputy Duane Portoff of the Glades County Sherriff’s Office said the travelers “didn’t see that stop sign” and “shot right through it.” One of the injured adults also told newspapers that the van driver did not notice a curve in the road and that he could not stop the vehicle in time.
The Florida Highway Patrol identified the deceased as:
Volsaint Marsaille, 58, of Fort Pierce
Judge Petit-Frere, 66, of Fort Pierce
Obernise Petit-Frere, 58, of Fort Pierce
Lifaite Lochard, 58, of Fort Pierce
Madeleine William, 53, of Fort Pierce
Wanie Larose, 60, of Fort Pierce
Dazilla Joseph, 79, of Fort Pierce
Servilus Dieudonne, 71, of Fort Pierce
The Florida Highway Patrol identified the injured as:
Jose Zimero, 26, of Fort Pierce in serious condition
Clodette Fleurvil, 44, of Fort Pierce in critical condition
Innoncent Roseme, 89, of Fort Pierce in critical condition
Jean Rafael, 73, of Fort Pierce in serious condition
Nozaire Nore, 48, of Fort Pierce; minor injuries
Nicholas Alexis, 57, of Fort Pierce; minor injuries
Esperant Lexine, 57, of Fort Pierce in critical condition
Macaty Jean Jacques, 53, of Fort Pierce in fair condition
Marilia Dieudonne, 65, of Fort Pierce in serious condition
Faeyana Desirus, 4, of Fort Pierce; discharged from the hospital