A crew member from G&C Towing works to remove the van from Interstate 75 after the vehicle suffered a tire blowout. Fifteen passengers were transported to the hospital / Jack Hardman/news-press.com
ESTERO, Fla. (AP) - A preliminary investigation shows that a tire blowout caused a church van to rollover in Lee County, killing one passenger and sending 15 others to area hospitals.
A Florida Highway Patrol report says the left rear tire tread separated from the tire, causing the van to drive onto the emergency lane on Interstate 75 in Estero Saturday morning. The van's driver then tried to steer back onto the inside lane when it spun clockwise and overturned.
Seven passengers were taken to the hospital with serious or critical injuries, including a 2-year-old girl. Another eight had minor injuries.
FHP identified the fatal victim as 20-year-old Nostra Damas.
Lt. Gregory S. Bueno says the 15-passenger van was traveling from Broward County Tampa for an event.