2019-01-04 23:40:01 UTC
Packed into a passenger van, a dozen parishioners from a Louisiana
Pentecostal church set off across north Florida on their way to Walt
But the Avoyelles House of Mercy group never made it.
Late Thursday afternoon, their trip ended near Gainesville when the van
they were traveling in was involved in a fiery crash on Interstate 75
that left five vehicles twisted together and in flames, seven people
dead and eight more injured.
Five of those killed were passengers in the church van, authorities
said. All of them were children.
Pastor Eric Descant’s granddaughter was among those who died and his
wife, Karen Descant, suffered seven broken ribs and a broken collarbone,
Kevin Fox, superintendent for the United Pentecostal Church’s Louisiana
district, said in a statement on Facebook. Another adult chaperone on
the trip was pregnant, Fox said. The woman safely delivered her baby
Thursday night and both remain in the hospital.
“It’s unbelievable. Everybody is in shock. We lost five of our
children,” Maxine Doughty, a church member from Avoyelles Parish in
east-central Louisiana, told the Gainesville Sun. “We had our Last
Supper Sunday, and the pastor said to live our lives like each day is
the last day.”