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Church van crash kills 3

Churches require large transport vehicles to shuttle members from place to place, but these buses and vans are often second-hand vehicles with a slew of mechanical problems. As a consequence, church vans, which are also often piloted by those without specialized licenses, are vulnerable to horrific crashes such as the car accident that killed three victims and left two severely injured.

The Florida accident, which occurred on Sept. 15, took place when a van with 16 passengers flipped over on its way to Tampa on Interstate 75. Witnesses reported that the crash scene looked as though a bomb had gone off, largely because pieces of the van were scattered throughout the vicinity. The van came to rest on its roof, with the entire cab being crushed beneath the vehicle's heavy undercarriage.

Two of the decedents in the accident, ages 22 and 62, died on the evening of Sept. 16, while the third, age 20, died on the night of the crash. The third victim was actually thrown from the vehicle when the van rolled over. Sadly, his 21-year-old sister was also in the vehicle. A 2-year-old child and a 39-year-old woman remain hospitalized in critical condition after they were harmed in the crash. The occupants of the van were traveling to a Christian religious convention; the van belonged to a Seventh-Day Adventists group.

Authorities say an investigation into the crash will likely take weeks, with highway patrol troopers still working to determine whether the van's occupants were wearing seatbelts. News reports indicate that 16 people were in the van, for example, even though it only had 15 seats. The driver of the van could be held liable for the injuries suffered by those who were wounded. Further, both the driver and the church itself could be required to pay for medical costs and civil restitution related to wrongful death. Even churches and religious groups are not exempt from the financial costs of negligence.

Source: articles.sun-sentinel.com, "Death toll rises to 3 in crash of Lauderhill church van near Fort Myers" Heather Carney, Sep. 16, 2013

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