UPDATE: Several victims of deadly I-75 crash released from hospital

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB/AP) -- UPDATE: 1/7/19

Five of the hospitalized crash victims are now released from the UF Health Shands Hospital but the conditions of two other victims are not being released.

Robyn Rattray, 41, of Gainesville, Amy Joffrion, 45, and Noah Joffrion, 14, of Louisiana are out of the hospital.

Trinity Woodward, 9, and Chance Bernard, 9, have also been released.

Karen Descant, 50, is still in the hospital in fair condition.

As victims continue to recover from their injuries, Florida Highway Patrol investigators are still trying to sort out more details about the deadly crash.

"We have to be objective and open minded about what may have transpired on any of those vehicles , you know what I'm saying, we don't know if there was a medical situation or we don't know if somebody fell asleep, we don't know if it was an equipment failure,” Lt. Patrick Riordan, with the Florida Highway Patrol, said.

UF Health staff says no additional information about Ali Laborde, 30, and Chelsea Laborde, 11, is available.

Staff also says the family of these two patients asking for privacy at this time.

Seven people including five children died in last weeks crash.

---------------
UPDATE: The Florida Highway Patrol has released the names of the victims of the crash on I-75 yesterday that took the lives of 7 people.

5 of the deceased were children from Marksville, Louisiana who were travelling together to Disney and include Joel Cloud, age 14, Jeremiah Warren, age 14, Cierra Bordelan, age 9, Cara Descant, age 13, and Brieana Descant, age 10.

The two drivers of the semi-trucks also died in that crash, and they were Douglas Bolkema, age 49, from Albuquerque, NM and Steve Holland, age 59, of West Palm Beach.

Several other people were injured in the wreck as well, two of which were treated at North Florida Regional Hospital, with the rest being taken to UF Health Shands Hospital.

______

RETRACTION: There was no child born after the wreck on I-75. We were provided with the information by the United Pentecostal Church International. They have confirmed,however, that there was a woman who was pregnant that was involved in the wreck, and they say she is injured, but okay, and her pregnancy is not in danger. The story below has been edited accuracy.
______

1:40PM UPDATE: The Louisiana District of the United Pentecostal Church has confirmed that the van carrying several children that crashed yesterday was from their congregation, the Pentecostals of Marksville.

They also say that Pastor Descant is the grandfather of one of the children that died in the wreck.

They say Pastor Eric Descant of that church, is with the members of his congregation that were injured in the crash and says some of them are pretty banged up.

Among the injured is his wife, Sister Karen Descant, as well as two other adults, one of which is pregnant. The UCPI says that the pregnant woman is injured, but her pregnancy is not in danger.

4 other children were injured in the crash and are recovering.

_________

10:10AM UPDATE: According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 5 of the 7 people who died in the crash on I-75 at MM 394 were children from a Pentecostal congregation in Marksville, Louisanna.

The two adults that died were the drivers of the two semi-trucks involved.

In the F.H.P. report, they say the wreck happened around 3:40pm on January 3. A semi-truck was driving northbound on I-75 near mile-marker 394, hit another vehicle and both went through the guardrail, over the median and into the southbound lanes, hitting another semi-truck and a passenger van.

Trooopers say several people in the van were thrown from the vehicle.

Both trucks caught fire, and a pickup truck in the southbound lane then drove through the scene as well.

It is unclear at this point the extent of the injuries to the other people involved, we will update this story as more information comes available.

The northbound lanes are open, and two southbound lane are back open as well. FDOT says they will be reducing this back down to the one lane later this evening so that they can work to repair the roadway and guardrails over night. FHP advises travelers to use 511 to find alternative routes.

9:00AM UPDATE: TV20 will be live streaming a Florida Highway Patrol press conference at 10:00AM in Alachua. That livestream can be found here: https://www.wcjb.com/livestream2
_________________________________________________________
1/4 12:00AM UPDATE: An FHP spokesperson has confirmed southbound lanes on I-75 will re-open sometime on Friday. At least 7 people are dead, a majority were traveling in the passenger van involved in the crash. Children are among the victims. TV20 can can also confirm at least six others injured in the crash are currently fighting for their lives.
_________________________________________________________
8:20PM UPDATE: An FHP spokesperson has confirmed 7 people are now dead in a crash that happened on I-75SB Thursday afternoon. Northbound lanes have also now been re-opened.
_________________________________________________________
TRAFFIC UPDATE: According to Alachua County deputies, the Northbound lanes will be opening in 10-15 minutes.

Expect heavy & slow traffic northbound. Southbound remains closed and will be for an extended time.

SB closed between 39th Av & US 441. Seek an alternate route if you are southbound.
_________________________________________________________
UPDATE: UF Health has opened its Patient and Family Resources Hotline for concerned family and friends at 352-594-4454 or 352-594-4244. These lines will be open until 9:00 p.m.
_________________________________________________________
A local first responder source confirms to TV20 that more than 6 people have died. Awaiting numbers from UF Health.

-I-75 northbound lanes could be back open before midnight
-No timeline yet on reopening southbound lanes

The Florida Highway Patrol says two tractor-trailer rigs and two passenger vehicle were involved in Thursday’s wreck on Interstate 75 about a mile (1.6 kilometers) south of Alachua, near Gainesville. Authorities say the fire was ignited after about 50 gallons (189 liters) of diesel spilled onto the highway.
_________________________________________________________
UPDATE: As of now, ACFR has confirmed 6 people dead, 8 people have been taken to hospitals, and multiple people with critical injuries.

Six were taken to Shands Hospital, and two others were taken to North Florida Regional.

50 gallons of gas spilled on the highway, but the fire is out now.

_________________________________________________________
FHP, Alachua County Sheriff's deputies, and Alachua County Fire Rescue are responding to a serious accident on MM 393 I-75 southbound.

Vehicles on fire, multiple fatalities, and critical injuries have been reported.

The ACFR's UAV team and ASO's AIR 1 helicopter are responding to help with locating possible patients that may be in the woods
____________________
Gainesville city commissioners ended their meeting tonight mourning the death of at least seven people in a fiery wreck on I-75 this afternoon.

A 4 vehicle crash also ended with multiple people in critical condition and taken to area hospitals.

It was a crash involving two semi-tractor trailers, a passenger van, and another vehicle with adults and children listed as casualties.
Many passersby's took footage of the scene, here's what one man, Garret Miller on his way back from a doctors appointment says he saw.

"I was like oh my God you could just see the black smoke just billowing up from up ahead, and it was about a minute and a half by the time we got up there and it was just bodies and everything was everywhere."

As they passed, Garret Miller says there was an unearthly feeling to the carnage he and his wife saw laid out before them

"My wife and I both almost felt nauseous, you could feel the souls like leaving the earth. Just like an empty almost reverse of gravity. "

The Northbound side was re-opened around 8 pm but anyone hoping to use I-75 South on Friday morning needs to choose an alternate route.

Lieutenant Patrick Riordan of the Florida Highway Patrol said, "well for our local area folks if they normally travel 75 through this area the 393-94 mile marker they probably need to take a different route for tomorrow because I do not anticipate the road will re-open until sometime tomorrow."

other semi trailers did catch fire and burned almost completely to the ground says Riordan and picking up the pieces will take a long time.

Miller explains all the wreckage he saw while driving past.
"The thing that was just so astonishing to me that just sticks out in my head is seeing the entire engine ripped out of the semi just laying there by itself in the middle of the road."

At least six additional crash victims are in the hospital fighting for their lives and at least 5 of the confirmed dead were in the passenger van together.