8 dead, 10 injured after Florida church van crashes

Eight people died and 10 others were injured early Monday when a church van ran through a stop sign and crashed in rural Florida.

The crash occurred around 12:30 a.m. local time at an intersection in Glades County, Fla., said officials with the highway patrol.

Glades County is about 65 miles east of Fort Myers.

There were 18 people in the van operated by the Independent Haitian Assembly of God, traveling from Fort Pierce, according to a statement by Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Gregory S. Bueno. The driver and seven passengers are confirmed dead, he said. Their names were not released pending notification of their families.

Bueno said the weather was clear and it was not foggy in the area when the crash occurred. An initial police report ruled out alcohol being involved in the crash and left unanswered whether the van operated by the church had seatbealts.


The injured, including a 4-year-old child listed in stable condition, were rushed to four hospitals, Bueno said.

Phillipe Dorce, 34, said his father-in-law and cousin were in the van, according to the Associated Press. Dorce received a call about 1:15 a.m. and drove to the crash site. He said he helped authorities identify bodies.

"I was there trying to be a man. But at the same time, I'm crying too," he told the AP.

Bueno said the investigation is ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.