Labelle man calls 911, helps victims of church van crash


GLADES COUNTY, Fla.- “I was coming back from fishing, and was going to turn West on to 78.”

Just after midnight Monday, Gary Luckey came across a violent crash. A man, covered in blood, had caught his attention.

“There was a man hollering at us, trying to get someone to stop,” said Luckey.

The man had escaped from a church van, that had nose dived into the canal off US 27.

“He said I need help for these people, this car in a ditch. Noticed the man that flagged us down had a bone poking out of this leg,” said Luckey.

He was one of 18 victims. The van was traveling from Fort Myers to Fort Pierce when the driver ran a stop sign, and crashed.

“I believe God had something to do with putting me there at the right time. When I made the 911 call it was 12:31, and the man who flagged us down said he had been trying for some time to get people to stop.”

Luckey, and his friend Phil, jumped into action, grabbing a rope from Luckey’s truck.

“I seen one person, near the front, stick their arm out the window. I saw one man with a deep laceration along his head,” said Luckey.

Eight people died at the scene. Luckey and Phil heroes tell WINK News they don’t consider themselves heroes.

“The real hero is that man who was able to climb out of that vehicle, walk through that water, scramble up a steep bank and manage to walk out here to the highway, to holler to us to get out to stop,” said Luckey.

WINK News checked, and seven victims remain in the hospital. Four people are at Lee Memorial Hospital in fair condition. FHP and the NTSB are investigating the crash.

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