By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun
7:06 PM EDT, May 22, 2013
The long white van veered out of control before buckling, shattering its windows, flipping four times and ejecting nine of its 11 passengers along a grass-lined interstate in Illinois on Monday morning — leaving five Baltimore men dead and several others badly injured.
The men in the vehicle were traveling toward the East Coast from California, having been in Ontario, Canada, before that for a church convention, said Bruce Bowen, the Fayette County coroner, who pronounced the five Baltimore men dead at the scene along Interstate 70 in Vandalia, Ill.
The Baltimore men who were killed in the crash, which garnered national media attention, were identified as Emerson Baldwin, 54; Andrew Canada, 53; Antonie Mitchell, 42; Mark William, 52; and Thomas Coleman, 29.
The crash occurred just before 9:45 a.m. Monday. All five were pronounced dead by 10:11 a.m., Bowen's office said.
Crash investigators with the Illinois State Police said two other men were transported to Greenville Regional Hospital and four were transported to Fayette County Hospital. Their identities and conditions were not given.
The crash closed the highway for hours as investigators cleared the scene and gathered evidence, state police said.
Bowen said the crash appeared to have occurred after the driver lost control of the van.
"It appeared that he left the roadway rather rapidly and then tried to correct, and over-corrected and lost control," Bowen said.
Bowen said members of the group told him at the scene of the crash that they were with a religious outreach group and had been at a convention in Ontario before driving to Los Angeles. At the time of the crash, they were headed to Philadelphia.
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