5 La. children killed in FL crash identified; candlelight vigil honors victims

5 La. children killed in FL crash identified; candlelight vigil honors victims
First row (left to right): Jeremiah Warren, 14, and Brieana Descant, 10. Second row (left to right): Cara Descant, 13, Joel Cloud, 14, and Cierra Bordelan, 9. (Source: WVUE)

AVOYELLES PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A crash in Florida claimed seven lives, including five children from Louisiana. A pregnant woman was also injured.

The victims of the wreck have been identified, according to KALB in Alexandria. The children killed have been identified as:

  • Joel Cloud, 14, of Marksville
  • Jeremiah Warren, 14, of Marksville
  • Cierra Bordelan, 9, of Marksville
  • Cara Descant, 13 of Marksville
  • Brieana Descant, 10, of Marksville

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The others killed have been identified as:

  • Douglas Bolkema, 49, of Albuquerque, NM
  • Steve Holland, 59, of West Palm Beach, FL

Those injured in the crash include:

  • Amy Joffrion, 45, of Mansura
  • Ali Laborde, 30, of Marksville
  • Karen Descant, 50, of Marksville
  • Noah Joffrion, 14, of Mansura
  • Chelsea Laborde, 11, of Marksville
  • Trinity Woodward, 9, of Hessmer
  • Chance Bernard, 9, of Hessmer
Seven people, including five children from Louisiana, died in this fiery crash in Florida on Jan. 3, 2019. (Source: CNN VAN/Alachua County Fire Rescue)
Seven people, including five children from Louisiana, died in this fiery crash in Florida on Jan. 3, 2019. (Source: CNN VAN/Alachua County Fire Rescue)

Cox said a van from a Pentecostal church in Marksville, Louisiana was involved in the crash and identified the church’s pastor as Eric Descant. He said the pastor’s wife was among the people who were injured and that his granddaughter was among the five children killed. Two truck drivers also died.

An unnamed volunteer at the Avoyelles House of Mercy church in Marksville said the congregation lost “half of our babies” in the crash. The volunteer was quoted on the Facebook page of U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy.

KALB reports the children were in the church van heading to Orlando. The van belongs to the Avoyelles House of Mercy Church, the television station reported.

Two big rigs and two passenger vehicles collided and spilled diesel fuel across the highway Thursday afternoon on I-75 near Gainesville, sparking a massive fire.

The Avoyelles Parish School Board issued the following statement about the crash:

We are deeply saddened by the news of the terrible accident that a church youth group from our parish was involved in. Avoyelles Parish lost 5 young people in the accident. (3 of them were APSB students and the other two had close ties to our system.) Something like this always puts things in perspective. No family (including the APSB family) should have to go through this. We will help however we can.
Avoyelles Parish School Board
This fatal accident is devastating. I am heartbroken by the sudden deaths of these five children from Marksville. These children were on their way to Disney World with their church when they were tragically killed in this horrific highway accident. Please join me in praying for all who are hurting from this accident.
Sen. John Kennedy

Sen. Cassidy tweeted about the tragic incident.

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