NEW ORLEANS, La. -- A crowded minivan full of children who were not wearing seatbelts blew a tire, clipped a delivery truck and rolled on a Louisiana interstate Saturday, killing five people and critically injuring another 10, state police said.
The victims were from the Harvey area near New Orleans, according to WAFB-TV reports.
The crash occurred after the tire blew out on the van's front driver side, Cain said. The van then hit the delivery truck traveling in the same direction, rolled about 200 feet across the median and landed on its tires in the oncoming lanes. No other vehicles were involved.
"It appears the tire blew out and the driver overcorrected," said Trooper Russell Graham.
Only the driver, who was killed, and a front-seat passenger appear to have been wearing seatbelts, Cain said.
"The Louisiana Legislature just passed a law making it mandatory to wear seatbelts in both the front and back seats," Graham said. "This is a good illustration of why they did."
Police identified the dead as the driver, 38-year-old Mona Hines; 2-year-old Ricky Hines Jr.; 12-year-old Lachante Floyd; 14-year-old Edward Barnes; and 14-year-old Ashley Hines.
"Well it just points out, I guess, the fragile nature of life and death, particularly when you're going 70 miles an hour on the interstate, and one minor mistake can be so, you end up with tragic results, such as this one did," said Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley.
The interstate was closed in both directions for about three hours Saturday afternoon.
13 children riding without seatbelts were thrown from the van, including four of the dead whom were found in the median of Interstate 10 near Baton Rouge, Louisiana State Police said. All those killed and injured were aboard the GMC Safari minivan, and some were related, police spokesman Russell Graham said.
"I just saw the vehicle flip about three or four times and kids flying everywhere," witness Tammy Hall told WAFB-TV. "It looked to be about 10 to 11 kids out of the car. And everyone started stopping, and we went to get her, and you could tell the driver was dead instantly."
The van didn't have enough seatbelts for the 13, and capacity likely wouldn't have exceeded 10, Graham said. The driver, who was killed, and a front-seat passenger appeared to be the only ones wearing seatbelts.