Broward church van overturns near Fort Myers, killing one



A church van loaded with passengers from a Lauderhill church crashed Saturday morning on Interstate 75 in Lee County on the gulf coast.

One person died and 14 others were injured, including a 2-year-old girl.

Authorities said the church van rolled over when the left rear tire blew out and the driver lost control of the van.

Nostra Damas, 20, of North Lauderdale died after being taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, the accident happened at mile marker 123 on northbound I-75 near Corkscrew Road.

The van belonged to Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lauderhill, and was one of three traveling to Tampa when it overturned as it headed to an overpass.

The left-rear tire’s tread separated from the tire, causing the van to swerve onto the emergency lane and then overturn, FHP said.

According to an accident report, the 2-year-old girl was not in a child restraint, and it was unclear whether the passengers were wearing seat belts.

The accident report stated the van’s driver and one other passenger used seat belts.

Lt. Gregory S. Bueno with Florida Highway Patrol said the injured were taken to two hospitals in the area.

Reporting by the Miami Herald is included in this story.

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