Atlanta pastor, family killed in Fla. pile-up

By Michael Ireland
ASSIST News Service

A pastor, his wife, and teenage daughter were among the 10 people killed in a massive highway pileup in Florida, now deemed as the deadliest crash on an American highway in 20 years.

According to CBN News, pastor Jose Carmo, Jr. and his family from the International Church of the Restoration in Atlanta were returning from a religious conference when their vans collided with several cars, six tractor-trailers, and a motor home on Interstate 75 near Gainesville on Sunday.

CBN News footage from accident

Senior pastor Arao Amazona told CBN News  he had opted to delay his departure until the next morning. Amazona said Carmo had wanted to be back in time for the suburban-Atlanta church’s Sunday morning service.

“We couldn’t have imagined such tragedy would come to us,” Amazonas said.

The crash took place after the Florida Highway Patrol reopened the interstate following an earlier serious accident. The broadcast outlets said the highway had earlier been closed due to thick smoke from a fire alongside the road which hampered visibility for drivers, according to broadcast reports.

“We went through the area. We made an assessment. We came to the conclusion that the road was safe to travel and that is when we opened the road up,” said highway patrol spokesman Lt. Patrick Riordan during a news conference.

“Drivers have to recognize that the environment changes,” he said. “They have to be prepared to make good judgments.”

The crash’s 18 survivors were hospitalized. Some are still in critical condition.

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