Church van flips over in Gary, 5 injured
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter November 29, 2012 11:20PM
A loaded passenger van rolled down the embankment of the off ramp at Cline Avenue and the Toll Road Thursday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 30, 2012 3:30PM
GARY, Ind. — A van carrying a dozen teenagers returning from a basketball tournament veered off the road and rolled down an embankment Thursday night, after the van’s driver sped up to try to avoid an angry tailgater, said the principal of the school the youths attended.
Twelve people were taken to area hospitals, including one who was airlifted to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn after being ejected from the vehicle, but none was believed to have life-threatening injuries. The injured are all students at City Baptist Schools in Hammond, said John Francis, the principal there.
“From what we understand, there was a car that was tail-gating the van, flashing its high-beams, trying to get the van to go fast,” Francis said. “The van sped up to get this car off its tail and was coming up to the exit and took the exit too fast.”
Joe McCollam, a former assistant principal at City Baptist Schools, said the youths were returning from a basketball tournament at Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point, Ind.
Francis said one of the boys was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital by ambulance for observation. Another was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center with a broken rib and a gash on his forehead. The nine others in the van were treated and released, he said.
“When you look at the pictures (of the crash),” it could have been much worse,” Francis said. “We’re very thankful.”
The tail-gating driver fled the scene after the crash, Francis said.
“He did not even stop when the van rolled down the hill.”