Five dead, ten critically injured after van carrying children rolls on Louisiana highway
November 30, 2009
Five people are dead and ten more are in a critical condition after a minivan packed with children rolled over on Louisiana's Interstate 10 highway yesterday. The vehicle's driver lost control after a blowout near Baton Rouge.
The vehicle's driver, who was among the dead, and a front-seat passenger were the only ones wearing seatbelts. There were thirteen children travelling in the back although there were not enough seatbelts and the van likely only had enough rear seats for ten, according to the Louisiana State Police.
The front driver's side tire on the GMC Safari blew out as the vehicle moved west. The driver lost control of the swerving van, which sideswiped a delivery truck travelling alongside before bouncing across to the center median, where it flipped. It rolled around 200 feet (75 yards) across the median before landing upright in the opposite lanes. Most of the occupants were ejected and four dead children were found lying in the median. No other vehicles were involved and the trucker pulled over uninjured.
Several of the victims were members of the same family from Harvey, 75 miles from the wreck. A three-year-old was amongst the dead. The survivors have been taken to two Baton Rouge hospitals and all are in a critical condition. A CNN photograph showed debris strewn around the scene. "I just saw the vehicle flip about three or four times and kids flying everywhere. It looked to be about 10 to 11 kids out of the car," said eyewitness Tammy Hall.
Although drugs and alcohol are not believed to have been involved police have confirmed samples will be taken from the driver to check. The road was closed for two-three hours in both directions. None of the victims have yet been publicly identified.
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