Driver, chaperone killed when church van crashes in Florida

Feb. 21, 2014 at 9:37 PM
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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The driver and a chaperone were killed Friday when a church van taking young people to a youth camp crashed in northern Florida.

One teenager was critically injured and another suffered serious injuries, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Five of the young passengers had only minor injuries.

The van belonged to First Baptist Church in New Port Richey in the Tampa area and was headed to a camp in Georgia. The crash occurred on Interstate 75 in Lakeland.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver, Jeff Novak, 52, of New Port Richey, apparently lost control of the van after a tire blew out. Troopers said the van flipped over and some of the occupants were thrown out.

Michalanne Salliotte, 44, of New Port Richey and Novak were pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators said only one of the occupants was wearing a seat belt. The young people ranged in age from 12 to 16.

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