Church Van Crash Leaves 2 Dead, 14 Injured

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By Joshua Goldberg, Christian Post Reporter
November 16, 2009|11:52 pm

A van carrying 16 members of a Colorado church group veered out of control on an icy Oregon freeway Thursday morning and rolled over several times before coming to a stop.

The crash resulted in the deaths of two – 20-year-old Joshua John Pischura and 23-year-old Taune Nicole Winter – and injuries to the other 14.

At least 13 were ejected during the accident, according to initial reports.

Nicole Byrd, who was driving the van at the time of the accident, told The Denver Channel that the van was on cruise control when it hit a patch of black ice around 5:20 a.m. Thursday.

"Before I knew it, the vehicle just started wobbling and it veered. I had no control over it. All of a sudden we were flipping and tumbling through the median on the right side," Byrd recalled.

The 16 young adults – members of New Life Worship Center in Federal Heights, Colo. – were traveling to Portland to attend a conference to raise money for the church when the accident took place .

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Following the accident, five of the members – four of which were critically injured – were airlifted to a hospital in Boise, and three were taken to a hospital in La Grande, Ore., according to the Denver Post.

The remaining seven, meanwhile, were treated and released from a hospital in Baker City, where the group had stopped for a break prior to the accident.

On Sunday, around 400 members of New Life gathered to honor the victims of a fatal crash, and to give thanks for the survivors.

At least two of the crash survivors were still in critical condition as of Friday and four still hospitalized as of Sunday. Nine were present for the service Sunday.

A fund to help the victims and their families has been established at North Valley Bank in Federal Heights under New Life Worship Center.

Bo Sosa, New Life Worship Center's senior pastor, said Friday the survivors were suffering emotionally as well as physically.

 

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