At least 8 people died and 10 others were injured early Monday when a church van from Fort Pierce, north of West Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast, ran through a stop sign, crossed all lanes of U.S. 27 and landed in a canal in southwest Florida.
The group was returning home from a weekend convention at the Eglise De Dieu La Jerusalem Celeste church in Fort Myers to the Independent Haitian Assembly of God in Fort Pierce, according to friends and family at the accident scene, Fox 4 reports.
The crash happened around 12:30 a.m. in Glades County, which is east of Lake Okeechobee, at an intersection. The driver didn’t see the stop sign and couldn’t stop in time. It was not foggy in the area when the crash occurred.
A 911 call came in at 12:31 a.m., and deputies arrived four minutes later, officials said. The van had gone down an 8-to-10 foot embankment and landed in shallow water of the canal, which is lined with tall grass and weeds.
There were 18 people in the 15-seat-capacity van, and the crash killed the 58-year-old driver, Volsaint Marsaille, and 7 passengers, 4 male and 3 female. The 10 survivors were rushed to 4 local hospitals, with 4 adults in critical condition. One of the injured passengers, who is currently in stable condition, is a 4-year-old child who was not in a car seat.