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Pastor speaks of healing after I-75 crash kills 5 children

January 7, 2019
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The Rev. Jimmy Toney, right, honors first responder Thomas Stanfield, an Alachua County law enforcement officer, left, during the "Night of Hope and Healing" held to honor five Louisiana Sunday school children during a church service at the Pentecostals of Gainesville church in Gainesville, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. The children from the Avoyelles House of Mercy in Marksville, La., were killed in a fiery wreck several days earlier and were traveling in a van on Interstate 75 when the accident happened in Alachua County, just north of Gainesville, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. (Bruce Ackerman/The Gainesville Sun via AP)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A pastor from Louisiana spoke about healing and his gratitude to the Gainesville, Florida, community following a fiery crash on Interstate 75 that killed five children who were heading to Disney World in a church van.

Pastor Eric Descant of Avoyelles House of Mercy Pentecostal church in Marksville, Louisiana, lost his 10-year-old granddaughter Brienna Descant in the Thursday crash that also injured his wife, Karen. Two tractor-trailer truck drivers were also killed.

The Gainesville Sun reports Descant joined The Pentecostals of Gainesville for a “Night of Healing” in solidarity with his church.

Seven members of Descant’s church were injured. The pastor said church members in Gainesville provided food and hotel rooms for affected families and paid airfare for an injured boy who was released from the hospital.

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