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NTSB issues update in crash that left five Marksville children dead

Posted at 1:19 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 14:19:48-04

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report in the January crash that left five Marksville children dead.

The fiery crash happened in Florida, and the children were on their way to Disney World. The children who died were Joel Cloud, 14; Jeremiah Warren, 14; Cara Descant, 13; Briena Descant, 10; and Cierra Bordelan, 9. All were from Marksville. They were in a church van headed to the theme park when the accident happened near Gainesville.

The NTSB preliminary report, which you can read for yourself below, states that a tractor-trailer rig traveling north hit an Acura sedan also traveling north. The rig crashed into a median barrier, crossed the median and hit the van in which the children were riding – which was southbound.

Here’s a photo from the report that shows the beginning of the chain reaction:

Source: NTSB Preliminary Report

All told, five vehicles with a total of 16 occupants were involved in the crash, the report states.

Here’s a photo from the report showing an aerial view of the crash:

Source: NTSB Preliminary Report

After impact, the van rolled over twice before coming to rest upright. The woman who was driving the Acura got out of her car, but the driver of the rig, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, was ejected from his truck. The gas tank of the rig caught on fire, the report states. Another rig and a pick-up truck also were involved in the crash.

The driver and front seat passenger of the van, and three other passengers, were wearing their seat belts. The driver and front seat passenger weren’t ejected. Three of the passengers wearing seat belts, along with the other passengers, were ejected, the report states.

Seven people died in the crash: the drivers of both rigs and five children in the van, the report states.

Only the driver of the pickup truck was uninjured.

The driver of the rig that started the chain reaction had a valid driver’s license, a current medical certificate and the report states that it appears he was operating within the regulated hours of service.

“All aspects of the Gainesville, Florida, crash remain under investigation as the NTSB determines the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes. The NTSB is working alongside the Florida Highway Patrol, which is conducting a separate, parallel investigation,” the report states.

Here’s the full report: