January 8, 2019

WATCH: Cassidy Speaks in Memory of Five Marksville Children Killed in Tragic Car Wreck, Asks for Continued Prayers

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), today spoke on the Senate floor in memory of the five children from Marksville, Louisiana, who were tragically killed in a car wreck last week in Florida. Cassidy also thanked Americans across the country for their prayers of support and donations for the families of the victims and the injured still in the hospital.

Dr. Cassidy’s remarks are transcribed below.

CASSIDY: I rise today to speak in memory of five children from Louisiana, my home state, tragically killed in an awful car wreck last Thursday in Florida: Jeremiah Warren, 14; Joel Cloud, 14; Cara Descant, 13; Brieanna Descant, 10; Cierra Bordelon, 9 years old.

All from Marksville, Louisiana, a small town of less than 6,000 people.

All the children were members of the Avoyelles House of Mercy Church family.

They were traveling together in a van with four other children and three women from the House of Mercy Church on their way to Disney World.

A tractor-trailer traveling the opposite direction hit a car, crossed the highway, hit their van and another 18-wheeler, creating a ball of fire.

The drivers of the two tractor-trailers died as well: Steve Holland of Florida and Douglas Bolkema of New Mexico – we include them in our prayers.

Losing five children is such a devastating tragedy for the Marksville community.

You can hardly imagine the grief and shock gripping everyone who knew them, their neighbors, friends, family, fellow church members.

Pastor Eric Descant said, “I cried so much this morning that my tears felt like lava running out a volcano.” His granddaughters Brianna and Cara died in the crash; his wife Karen is still hospitalized.

During a Monday night vigil at Marksville High’s stadium, Pastor Descant spoke to the crowd over the PA system by phone from Florida.

He said, “I never knew a heart could break so much and still work.” He also delivered an important reminder: that even in the midst of such immense heartache and loss, quote, “God will get the glory out of it.”

He added: “Don’t stop. Keep praying.”

I know so many around Louisiana and the country are doing just that.

We’re also praying for the full recovery of those injured, still hospitalized: Karen Descant; Robyn Rattay; Amy Joffiron and her 14-year-old son Noah; Ali Laborde and her 11-year-old daughter Chelsea; and two other children: 9-year-old Trinity Woodward and 9-year-old Chance Bernard.

We are sincerely grateful to the people in Florida who assisted the victims and their families.

The first responders and law enforcement, everyone at Health Shands Hospital, North Florida Regional Medical Center, and the Pentecostals of Gainesville.

To those around the country who have heard about this tragedy and donated money through GoFundMe, thank you for your generosity, support and prayers.

To my fellow Louisianans, I remind you of what Scripture says in Psalm 34: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”