MACKEY, Ind. (AP) — A van overloaded with 24 people headed to a factory overturned on an interstate in Indiana on Thursday, killing one passenger and injuring all of the others, authorities said.
Sgt. Bruce Vanoven of the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office said the driver lost control of the 16-passenger van after the right rear passenger tire had a blowout. “The tire was just completely obliterated,” he said.
No other vehicles were involved, he said.
The van was headed on Interstate 69 from the Washington area in southwestern Indiana, about 30 miles northeast of the crash, to a factory in Evansville, about 20 miles to the southwest, Vanoven said.
“We do know the vehicle was overcrowded and hauling too many people,” he said.
“We had three who were trapped in the van that had to be extricated by firefighters,” Vanoven said.
The number of injuries prompted a callout of multiple fire departments and ambulance agencies, Vanoven said, describing the scene as “chaotic.” Three passengers were flown to Evansville hospitals, he said.
The 1994 Dodge van appeared to have a long piece of wood for a bumper, he said.
The names of the victims were not immediately released.
St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville received nine patients from the crash with “varying degrees of injuries,” spokesman Randy Capehart told the Evansville Courier & Press.
Evansville Deaconess Hospital received eight victims, also suffering from varying degrees of injuries, spokeswoman Becca Scott said.
Gibson General Hospital in Princeton received six patients suffering from headaches, bruises, minor cuts and other injuries, spokesman Jeff Jones said.
The crash that occurred about 3:30 p.m. CDT closed the southbound lanes of I-69 for nearly three hours.