Church Van Rolls Over in Gary

A church van carrying a youth basketball team rolled over Thursday night in northwest Indiana, leaving several injured, including one who needed to be life-flighted to a Chicago-area hospital.

Authorities said a dozen people were in the Hammond Baptist Church van when it flipped on Cline Avenue near the Gary Avenue entrance ramp to the toll road in Gary. The passengers were members of the City Baptist School's basketball team.

"When I got here, there were I want to say nine young men that were bleeding, disoriented, crying, praying and then there was another young man that was still trapped under the vehicle," said witness Corey Bostic.

That teen was was rushed to the Gary Airport and then flown by helicopter to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Eleven others were sent to hospitals nearby but most were treated and released.

The players, aged 15 to 18 years, were from the City Baptist Schools in Hammond. The assistant coach was driving them back to school to meet their parents after playing a tournament at Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point.

Authorities are looking into whether the rollover may have involved another vehicle.

[Students said] "there was a car tail-gating the van and flashing its high beams, like the van was going too slow, so the van sped up," said City Baptist Principal John Francis.

The van's driver increased speed but lost control, sending the van on a roll.

"All of them were in shock. It's pretty serious, but I think all of them feel pretty lucky," said First Baptist Spokesman Eddie Wilson.

Authorities said alcohol was not a factor.

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