1 dead, 5 injured in Ocala crash

FOX 35 News at 5 p.m.

- One person is dead, and five others injured, after a van carrying people with special needs overturned Wednesday morning.  

A crushed heap of metal is all that's left of the van.  The violent crash tossed wheelchairs out of the van, and scattered them across the ground.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, Heather Baker, 29, of Ocala, who is living with special needs, was sitting in a passenger's seat. She died in the crash.  Five others were injured -- three remain in critical condition.

The crash victims were all traveling from a local group home, where some of them lived.  Guionie Cherestal said her brother was the driver.  "I just don't know what to say,” she said. “I'm in shock."

FHP said the van swerved to avoid two other vehicles right in front of Forest High School on Maricamp Road in Ocala when it veered out of control.  The van overturned once and came to rest in the front yard of a home.

FHP Capt. Gregory Lamont said several of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle.  “We're assuming they're all still there in one level of trauma condition or another."

Investigators still don't know who is at fault or if anyone will be charged.  

The driver's sister is praying for the victims and their families, as she tries to shake the images and the aftermath of a very violent crash.  "Just pray for my family, honestly,” she said.

Capt. Lamont said, after FHP is finished with its investigation, the case will be presented to the State Attorney’s Office.
 

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