Five Marksville Children Killed in Crash Heading to Disney World
A group of children from Marksville, Louisiana tragically lost their lives in a fiery crash on their way to Walt Disney World. The crash occurred around 3:40pm EST on Interstate-75 near mile marker 394 in Alachua County, Florida – just outside Gainesville on January 3, 2019.
Witnesses say the crash happened after the driver of an 18-wheeler, 59-year-old Steven Holland, was traveling northbound on the interstate when he collided into another car. Both drivers lost control of their vehicles, plowing through a guardrail and into oncoming traffic along the southbound lanes. The 18-wheeler crashed head-on into another semi-truck being driven by 49-year-old Douglas Bolkema and a church van carrying 12 passengers from Avoyelles House of Mercy in Marksville, Louisiana. Authorities say the fiery crash was exacerbated by 50 gallons of burning fuel.
The Florida Highway Patrol released a statement saying five children from Avoyelles Parish were among the seven killed in the tragedy. The children were identified as 9-year-old Cierra Bordelon, 10 year-old Briena Descant, 13-year-old Cara Descant as well as Jeremiah Warren and Joel Cloud, both 14. The drivers of the 18-wheelers were also killed in the crash. At least eight other people were hospitalized with injuries.
Private fundraisers were held for the families. The Pentecostals of Gainesville offered to pay for the burial sites of the children. In addition, Gofundme sites have been created to help the affected families tend to other costs associated with this tragedy.
At least one family retained legal counsel who has filed a lawsuit against several parties, including Steven Holland, the truck driver at the center of the accident. Other families have reportedly retained legal counsel to address their loss.
Crashes involving 18-wheelers can pose grave danger to those of us traveling along roadways and interstates as these oversized trucks are less maneuverable and are likely to cause greater impact.
Families who pursue their claims against at-fault parties are entitled to recover losses under the applicable wrongful death / survival statutes associated with their loved ones that include reimbursement for burial expenses, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
Attorney Walter Gabriel and his staff continue to pray for the families impacted by the untimely loss of the children who lost their lives in this tragedy. We extend our deepest condolences to the entire Marksville community as it holds a special place in our hearts.