One killed in van's crash

15 injured as vehicle flips on Route 309.

Posted: July 03, 2007

A shuttle carrying workers to a Souderton meat-packing plant flipped over on the Route 309 Expressway in Lower Gwynedd Township shortly before dawn yesterday, killing one passenger and injuring 15 others.

Jean-Baptiste Saint Louis, 51, was driving north in the left lane near Welsh Road at 5:05 a.m. when he lost control of a 1980 Dodge Sportsman, causing the van to travel across the right lane and onto the shoulder, according to a state police statement. No other vehicle was involved, police said.

The van landed on its roof on a grassy embankment, where several passengers were thrown from it, police said. Officials pronounced one of them dead at the scene.

The 15 other workers, most of them Haitian, were taken to area hospitals for treatment of a range of injuries, some life-threatening, a police spokesman said.

The names of those killed and injured had not been released by early yesterday evening.

Details from the crash investigation, which closed Route 309 northbound for five hours during rush hour, are expected to be made public today. Police performed a toxicology test on Saint Louis, but did not suspect that alcohol was involved in the accident.

The passengers, who lived in the Philadelphia area, were employed at Moyer Packing Co., a beef-processing firm, a company spokesman confirmed. They took the shuttle to work daily from the city, the spokesman said.

Police said that no one in the group was wearing a seat belt and that the van did not have air bags.


Contact staff writer Jeremy Rogoff at 610-313-8134 or jrogoff@phillynews.com.

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