A trip that was supposed to take a group of Pentecostal church members from Louisiana to the purported “happiest place on Earth” ended in tragedy when a semi truck collided head-on with their church van, as well as another big truck, killing five children in the group and injuring others, including a pregnant woman. Two truck drivers, including the one who allegedly caused the accident, also lost their lives in the fiery crash that closed part of Interstate 75 in north Florida in both directions.

The five children killed in the crash ranged in age from nine to 14. A volunteer at the church reacted to news of the tragedy by saying that the crash claimed the lives of “half of our babies” in the congregation. Though not present in the vehicle, the pastor of the church lost his granddaughter, and his wife, who was along for the trip, sustained bruises and multiple broken bones. Hospitals in the area treated at least eight people injured in the crash, one of whom is a pregnant woman whose unborn baby should suffer no ill effects, according to reports.

The driver of a northbound truck allegedly lost control of his vehicle after veering into another car, which caused him to cross the center divider into the southbound lanes and strike two vehicles headed in the opposite direction. Authorities also report that the driver had received numerous traffic tickets across a number of different states, including Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. 

While this accident was especially gruesome, it is always heartbreaking when motor vehicle accidents claim the lives of young children, particularly if one or more of the vehicles involved was a large truck. Parents haunted by the loss of a child in an accident such as this may find it helpful to consult an attorney.