MANATEE -- One teenager remained in very critical condition, another was recuperating from ankle surgery and four other teens and one adult have been released from two Polk County hospitals following a single-car accident Saturday.
The 17-year-old most seriously hurt in the accident "is still clinging to life," Pastor Don Carter said in a statement Monday afternoon on the Facebook page of the Journey Assembly of God in East Bradenton.
Church officials were not available for comment.
The six teens, all between 16 and 19, and a 26-year-old passenger from the church were part of a four-vehicle caravan en route to a Christian music festival in Orlando when the accident occurred, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
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A 2006 Ford Expedition with the seven occupants was traveling eastbound on Interstate 4 west of 27 when a catastrophic tire failure occurred and the vehicle veered toward the median.
Upon entering the median, the vehicle rolled over and one person was ejected and another partially ejected, according to the report.
Four victims were taken to Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Haines City and the other three to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
"We're still investigating as to what may have happened to the tire and who may have or may not have been wearing seatbelts," said Polk County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Wood. "We have done interviews with a number of victims, but not everyone. With one person critical, the most important thing right now is the condition of that kid."
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter:@vinmannix