Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bump Starts Accident, Ends Calm Trip to Church; Weekend's Second Serious Crash at Junction Sends 20 People to Hospital

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bump Starts Accident, Ends Calm Trip to Church; Weekend's Second Serious Crash at Junction Sends 20 People to Hospital

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein, The Times-Union

The Harvest Baptist Church bus that takes teenage girls to worship services each week usually makes a quiet trip -- some girls doze and others talk softly.

But at 9 a.m. Sunday, screams resounded through the bus when it spun out of control, flipped and tumbled down a steep embankment where Interstate 10 and Interstate 95 merge just west of downtown Jacksonville.

Then came prayers.

When Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Division Chief Larry Peterson arrived at the crash, he said he found a circle of six to eight girls saying prayers for some of the injured in the back of the bus.

"With an accident like that, you could probably say that God was watching over them due to the fact that no one is dead and there don't seem to be any serious injuries," Peterson said as drizzle fell on the yellow bus.

Emergency authorities took 20 girls to Jacksonville hospitals for treatment, but none of the injuries was life-threatening, said Battalion Chief Dale Margadonna. Two of the girls suffered broken collarbones, Harvest Baptist Church pastor Wilford McCormick said.

The bus crash was the second serious accident during the weekend at that busy interchange.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, a truck hauling a load of produce flipped when the driver -- Diego Rodriguez, 37, of Norfolk, Va. -- was switching from northbound I-95 to westbound I-10, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. The truck struck a concrete barrier wall, jumped the wall and overturned on the exit ramp to Stockton Street, spilling fruits and vegetables on the road.

The Harvest Baptist bus crash occurred as the bus was heading from eastbound I-10 onto northbound I-95. A van hit the rear of the bus, which spun and went off the highway, rolling over once as it went down the embankment, according to a highway patrol report. …

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