Manatee teens in rollover accident on way to concert

Several teens traveling from an east Manatee County church to a music festival were injured Saturday afternoon in a single-vehicle rollover accident in Lakeland, according to Polk County officials.

The group of seven from Journey Assembly of God, 5017 37th St. E., were heading to Rock the Universe, a Christian rock event at Universal Studios in Orlando, according to Cindy Schultz, connections director for the church.

The sport utility vehicle was traveling eastbound about 2:08 p.m. on Interstate 4 near mile marker 55 when it rolled over, said Mianne Nelson, communications director of Polk County. Schultz said the vehicle blew a tire, causing it to flip.

The accident occurred as the President Barack Obama’s motercade was moving through the area, making response by emergency vehicles more difficult, Nelson said.

One occupant was airlifted to a hospital in Polk County, Nelson said. Four were taken by ambulance to Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center. Two were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Schultz said three were treated and released. Three are remaining in the hospital for observation — one suffered head trauma, another with a broken back, ankle and thumb. One is in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery for internal bleeding.