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Church van crash kills two

Church van blew tire, causing it to veer into should and flip several times before coming to a stop.
Posted By DANIELLE HAYNES, UPI.com   |   Feb. 22, 2014 at 1:46 PM   |   Comments

LAKE CITY, Fla., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Two people died Friday after a church van on its way to a youth camp in Georgia flipped and crashed along Interstate 74.

There were at least nine people from the First Baptist Church of New Port Richey, Fla., in the van when its left rear tire blew, sending the van onto the east shoulder of the road where it flipped, police said.

The van's driver, 52-year-old Jeff Novak, and chaperone Michalanne Salliotte, 44, died at the scene, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Three teenagers in the van were transported to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., including 14-year-old Jacob Newman, who suffered critical injuries. Four others were taken to Lake City Medical Center.

Only one of the teenagers was wearing a seat belt, police said.

The church issued a statement asking for privacy and prayers for healing. Church members said they planned to hold a vigil Saturday and the victims would be honored at Sunday services.

[Tampa Bay Times]

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