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Accident Report Detail

​Highway Accident Brief: 15-Passenger Van Roadway Departure, Moore Haven, Florida, March 30, 2015

Executive Summary

​About 12:30 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 30, 2015, a 2000 Dodge B3500 Ram 15-passenger van was traveling eastbound on State Road 78 (SR-78) West approaching the T-intersection with US Highway 27 (US-27) near Moore Haven, in Glades County, Florida.  The 15-passenger van, which was operated by the Independent Haitian Assembly of God Church in Fort Pierce, Florida, and driven by a 58-year-old male, was transporting 16 adults and a 4-year-old child back to Fort Pierce following a revival celebration at the Eglise De Dieu La Jerusalem Celeste Church in Fort Myers, Florida.

The van failed to stop at the stop sign at the T-intersection with US-27. The van traveled through the intersection, went off the roadway onto the grass shoulder on the north side of US-27, vaulted across a canal, and struck the far side bank, coming to rest 46 feet north of the intersection in the shallow canal, facing northeast. One of the survivors crawled out of the van, walked to the edge of the highway, and waved down help. The collision resulted in eight deaths; the remaining van occupants received injuries ranging from minor to serious and were transported to area hospitals for treatment.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Moore Haven, Florida, crash was the failure of the 15-passenger van driver to stop at a posted stop sign, possibly as a result of impairment from the use of a sedating antihistamine. Contributing to the severity of the injuries was the loading of more passengers into the van than it had seat belts, the nonuse of available seat belts, and the operation of the van with an unsecured fourth-row seat that had no passenger restraints.

Accident Location: Moore Haven , FL USA North of the intersection of State Road 78 West with US Highway 27
Accident Date: 3/30/2015
Accident ID: HWY15FH008

Date Adopted: 1/20/2016
NTSB Number: HAB1602
NTIS Number:  

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