Vigil held for 2 killed in church van accident

11:54 PM, Feb 22, 2014   |    comments
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New Port Richey, Florida -- Hundreds of church members attended a special prayer service this afternoon for the victims of the First Baptist Church van accident. Two adults were killed and seven children were hurt, one critically.

The accident happened on I-75 near U.S. 90 yesterday afternoon. They were on their way to a church camp in Georgia.

The prayer service lasted over an hour at First Baptist Church. Many people walked out of the doors with tears in their eyes, including Pastor Guy Sanders, who says he has been crying since he found out.

"I went and told my wife. We both began to weep. I still do ... we love these people," he says.

Jeff Novak and Michalanne Salliotte both died in the crash and leave family behind. They were the youth trip chaperons. As we reported, the van's tire blew out, the van flipped, and they were thrown from it.

Church officials say a prayer is needed for Jacob Newman too, who is the only child in critical condition with a broken arm and head trauma.

The church administrator says immediately after the crash, he had only three words when he saw everyone who was either involved or affected by this, "I love you. I love you. The best thing we can do is love on these people and let them know we are there."

In addition to prayers, church officials say financial support is needed for the victims' families. Donations can be made at any Republic Bank under FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF NEW PORT RICHEY.

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