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2 Killed, 8 Injured, following Church Van Roll-over Accident near Lake City

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The Accident & Injury Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. take note of a tragic incident in which two lives were cut short, and several others were injured, following a single-vehicle crash early yesterday morning near Lake City. The accident occurred as a church van, from First Baptist Church in New Port Richey, traveled along Interstate 75, intending to reach their ultimate destination in Georgia. Amongst the van’s occupants were three adults, and seven youths ranging from 12 to 14 years of age.

While the accident is still under investigation, it appears the cause of the accident is related to the driver’s loss of control of the 2002 Ford van, after the tread separated from the van’s left rear tire. Thereafter, the van traveled off the roadway and onto the shoulder and subsequently overturned, resulting in the ejection of several occupants.

Amongst the victims ejected in the crash, was 52-year-old driver, Jeff Novak, who was pronounced dead at scene of the accident. An additional ejected occupant, 44-year-old Michalanne Salliotte, suffered fatal injuries as well, and was also pronounced dead at the accident scene.

According to FHP, all other surviving occupants in the van sustained injuries to varying degrees. Of the most severely injured was 14-year-old Jacob Newman, who was transported to UF Health Shands in critical condition. Also transported to Shands with serious injuries, were 14-year-old Jared Leach and 13-year-old Javen Andrews.

The remaining occupants, 12-year-old Oliver Newman, 12-year-old Eric Paules, 14-year-old Jared Gress, 16-year-old Corinn Salliotte, and 45-year-old Sherri Paules, were transported to Lake City Medical Center with minor injuries.

Our thoughts today, remain with the family members and loved ones of the victims of this horrific incident.

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