A Florida community is applauding a group of high school students who were en route to their senior prom Saturday night when they stopped to help rescue a family trapped in a van that had flipped on its side on Interstate 595.
A group of 20 teenagers from Western High in Davie, Fla., were packed into a Cadillac Escalade limo heading to the dance when a Honda Odyssey van in front of them started swerving.
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"[The driver] was wobbling [and] the van was going side to side
on two wheels almost," Danny Izzi, who was driving the limo, told the Huffington Post. "I knew she was losing control and as soon as she hit the wall she rebounded and then the van fell [over] so the passenger side was on the top."
Izzi said he had to slam the brakes on to avoid hitting the overturned van. As soon as the vehicle stopped, all 20 students rushed out to help.
"We were trying to help because we didn't know what happened, how they flipped, how many people were in there," 17-year-old Krista Pulcini told HuffPo.
The students soon discovered there were five adults and two children trapped inside the van. One student climbed on top of the van, forced the sliding door open, and reached in to free some of the passengers.
Firefighters and police arrived within minutes and transported six people to a local hospital. The teens eventually made their way to the dance.
"I went to the prom and a lot of girls were helping me get the blood out of my dress, so it was good," Pulcini said.
Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky identified the injured people as van driver Karen Exalien, 28; and passengers Enddey Mareus, 33; Marie Gelin, 55; Mysta Joseph, 30; Merancieuse St. Louis, 61, and two children, Jewel and Isma. All are from Fort Lauderdale.
Exalien was charged with failure to use due care and violation of a child restraint law. Everyone but the 2-year-old was wearing seat belts. No one was seriously hurt, the FHP said.
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