Five Children from Louisiana Killed on I-75 in FL During Their Trip to Disney World

by | Jan 7, 2019 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

What was supposed to be a fun and exciting trip to Disney World turned into a deadly encounter after two semi-trucks, a church van, and a passenger vehicle engaged in a collision on I-75 in FL. According to KALB, the church van, which happened to be from the Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana, was heading south on the interstate carrying members from the Avoyelles House of Mercy Church along with nine children. At around 3:40 p.m. on Thursday, January 3rd, when the van was nearing Gainesville, “a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle traveling north collided and went through the guardrail into the southbound lanes.”

As the two vehicles made their way onto to the opposite side of the road, they collided into the church van and another tractor trailer. The source reported that when the two trucks hit one another, nearly 50 gallons of diesel fuel spilled out causing them to catch fire. After authorities and other emergency responders arrived to tend to the victims and put the fire out, it was determined that five children who had been riding in the van had died as a result of the collision. The ages of those children range from eight or nine and even those in their teen years. The news outlet also highlighted that certain members from the church, which were later identified as Sister Karen Descant, the pastor’s wife, and two other adult women had been on the bus, although they all survived. Descant, however, was left with seven broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and multiple bruises and cuts.

One of the other women that had been traveling on the bus was pregnant and fortunately, both survived and were said to have been “okay.” The other four children occupying the bus did sustain injuries, however, they were expected to recover from them. Officials also confirmed that both truck operators were killed in the crash as well. The truck driver that had been involved in the initial collision with the passenger vehicle on the northbound side of I-75 was identified as Steve Holland, 59, of West Palm Beach and it was later determined that he had received multiple tickets over the course of the last few years.

KALB highlighted that after court records were obtained, they revealed that Holland had received tickets between 2000 and 2014 in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Virginia for various violations including:

Driving an unsafe vehicle
Driving an overloaded vehicle
Not carrying proof of insurance

Florida officials believe that after Holland veered into another vehicle, he lost control of his truck and that is what caused him to crash through the center divider. Although many different agencies did report to the accident scene given the severity of it, KALB stated that “due to the federal government shutdown, the National Transportation Safety Board [was] currently unable to assist investigators” which is something it would normally be responsible for doing.

Were you involved in an accident with a large truck?

Was a loved one of yours killed in a highway wreck in Louisiana?

If you or a loved one are the victim of a large truck or bus crash in Alexandria, LA or a nearby city and are in need of a LA truck wreck attorney to help you understand what your rights are and how you can recover the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries, contact our office, The Downs Law Firm. My firm is more than qualified to aid victims of tragic and traumatic accidents that occur in and around Alexandria, LA and would be more than happy to provide you with the assistance you are seeking.

You can reach The Downs Law Firm at:

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4214 Sterlington Road
Monroe, LA 71203


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4214 Hwy 165 N.
Monroe, LA 71203