GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A split decision between two pastors regarding when to return to Atlanta from Florida was the difference between life and death.
They'd finished a religious conference in Florida on Saturday and debated when they and their accompanying parishoners would return home.
Senior pastor Arao Amazonas wanted to wait until the next morning to leave. But pastor Jose Carmo Jr. wanted to be back in time for the church's Sunday morning service.
A few hours later, Amazonas received an early-morning call: Both vans crashed in the highway's fog- and smoke-shrouded darkness near Gainesville. Carmo, his wife and their daughter were among five church members killed. In all, 10 people were killed in the pileup that happened after the Florida Highway Patrol reopened the interstate after an earlier accident.