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Five children among seven dead in fiery Gainesville crash

Credit: Alachua County Fire Rescue
Credit: Alachua County Fire Rescue(WCTV)
Published: Jan. 3, 2019 at 5:46 PM EST
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By: WCTV Eyewitness News

January 4, 2019

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Florida Highway Patrol has identified each of the seven people who died in a fiery crash on I-75 on Thursday in Gainesville.

Troopers say 59-year-old Steve Holland, 49-year-old Douglas Bolkema, 14-year-olds Joel Cloud and Jeremiah Warren, 13-year-old Cara Descant, 10-year-old Brieana Descant and nine-year-old Cierra Bordelan all died in the accident.

FHP says seven more people are in serious condition while another is in critical condition.


By: WJCB | WCTV Eyewitness News

January 4, 2019

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Florida Highway Patrol confirms seven people are dead following a fiery crash on Interstate 75 south Thursday afternoon.

During a press conference Friday morning, FHP confirmed that five of the victims were children, ranging in age from 8 years old to teenagers.

The crash happened around 3:40 p.m. Thursday, when a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle that were traveling northbound near mile marker 394 collided and traveled through the guardrail, entering the southbound lanes.

The vehicles then collided head-on with another tractor-trailer and a passenger van that were heading southbound. FHP says the van overturned, ejecting some of the occupants.

The collision also caused 50 gallons of gas to spill onto the highway and both tractor-trailers and the passenger vehicle to catch fire.

A fifth vehicle, a pickup truck, traveled through the crash scene and struck some of the debris in the roadway.

Troopers say five children from the van and the male drivers of both tractor-trailers involved have died.

Six to eight people were also taken to the hospital with various injuries. FHP says the injured include children and adults.

Troopers say they are still contacting family members of the victims and have not yet released any names, but said the passenger van involved in the crash was from Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. FHP says they are working to confirm whether the van was possibly heading to Disney World.

All southbound and northbound lanes on I-75 near mile marker 394 were closed for several hours, but the northbound lanes have since reopened. One lane remains closed on I-75 southbound.

FHP says there is damage to the roadway, so drivers need to prepare for delays in the area. Travelers may want to find an alternate route.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News

January 3, 2019

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Florida Highway Patrol, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office and Alachua County Fire Rescue have responded to a fiery accident on I-75 that left six people dead and sent eight more to the hospital.

Troopers say the accident occurred on I-75 southbound at mile marker 394.

Alachua County Fire Rescue says 50 gallons of gas spilled onto the highway, but the fire has since been put out.

As of 5:42 p.m., FHP says all southbound and northbound lanes on I-75 near mile marker 394 are closed.