An accident involving a church van near Moore Haven, which resulted in the deaths of eight people, made national news back in March. A new report from the Florida Highway Patrol contains more information on the details of the crash and why it was so severe.
The report states that the rearmost bench seat in the van was not latched to the floor and that the four occupants of the van sitting on that seat died immediately upon impact. The van had been carrying 18 total people, all of whom were members of the Independent Haitian Assembly of God church in Fort Pierce, when it drove straight through a stop sign on U.S. Highway 27 and into a canal.
The report also says that only two passengers were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident: the 58-year-old driver and a 66-year-old man. Both also died in the crash. The youngest victim was four years old, and she was not fastened into a car seat when the accident occurred. She, did, however, survive the accident while suffering some injuries.
Autopsies and toxicology reports concluded that drugs and alcohol were not a factor. The Florida Highway Patrol also did not find anything mechanically wrong with the vehicle, and so exactly what happened in the moments leading up to the crash might never be discovered. However, the fact that the rear bench was not secured could be a crucial piece of evidence if any family members of the victims choose to take legal action against the church.
If you could use skilled legal guidance on a potential wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit, speak with a skilled Bradenton attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh right away.