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Lawsuit filed in van crash that killed 5 from Baltimore

The family of one of five Baltimore men killed in a southern Illinois van crash in August is suing the church that organized the cross-country trip.

The estate of Andrew Canada filed the $5 million lawsuit Friday in Baltimore City Circuit Court. It names Victory Outreach Baltimore and pastors Gerry and Melinda Bell as defendants.

Church officials couldn’t be reached for comment. Telephone numbers for the church and its pastors were either disconnected or constantly busy.

The van was returning from California when it careened off Interstate 70, killing five of 11 occupants. Driver Malcolm Purnell was ticketed for improper lane usage and driving on a suspended New Jersey license.

The lawsuit contends the church was negligent for failing to check on whether Purnell had a valid driver’s license.

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