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Day Care Van Crash Kills 7-Year-Old

The driver and the children were on their way back from a field trip in Florida. Two other youngsters are seriously hurt.

June 30, 2005|From Associated Press

ASTOR, Fla. — A church day care van carrying a dozen passengers overturned on a rural road Wednesday in the Ocala National Forest, killing a 7-year-old boy and seriously injuring two other children.

Other passengers' injuries were not life-threatening, said Trooper Kim Miller, a spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol.

All the children were wearing seat belts, but when the van rolled over, the seats themselves "dislodged from the track and ended up on the ceiling, basically on top of the children," Miller said.

The boy who died had been partially ejected from a window.

He was from Daytona Beach, Fla.

His identity was not immediately released; neither were the names of the two seriously injured children.

Seven children and the driver, Katie Matthias, 20, from Quakertown, Pa., were taken to Florida Hospital Waterman in Lake County. Four children were taken to Florida Hospital in DeLand.

Two helicopters were dispatched to transport injured children, who lay on stretchers in the road as paramedics tended to them.

The group had been returning to A Child's Place day care center at Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach after a field trip to Alexander Springs.

It was drizzling and the van "went off into a little rut off the road. [Matthias] lost control of the van, and basically the van slid off onto the right and overturned one time," Miller said.

Investigators do not believe Matthias had exceeded the 55 mph speed limit but do not know whether she was driving too fast for conditions, Miller said.

No other motorists saw the wreck.

The investigation is continuing, Miller said.

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