LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A Lansing church held a vigil for an 18-year-old high school student who was killed in the crash of an overloaded van that was carrying 17 people home from a choir performance in Grand Rapids.

The crash happened Sunday on eastbound Interstate 96 in Kent County’s Lowell Township, about 15 miles east of Grand Rapids.

The Lansing State Journal says a vigil and rally Thursday night at Epicenter of Worship Church was a memorial for Omberi Erasto and a fundraiser for treatment and rehabilitation of his younger sister, who lost her leg in the crash.

Police say a 22-year-old man was driving the van when a left rear tire blew out, causing him to lose control and hit another vehicle. Most of the 17 people in that van weren’t wearing seat belts and were thrown from the vehicle.

Erasto was a senior at Lansing Eastern High School.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  1. Rose Davis-Media Ministry Epicenter of Worship says:

    Please keep the family in prayer. Ombeni’s funeral will be Monday his home church at the Epicenter of Worship in Lansing. Family hour will begin at 11:00 am with the funeral service starting at noon. A Burundi refugee relief fund has been established if you would like to make a contribution. Your contributions are greatly appreciated and will help the families affected by the tragic accident with funeral cost, hospital care, and recovery cost. All contributions may be given online at or checks/money orders can be mailed to the church Epicenter of Worship, 102 West Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906. Please make checks payable to the Epicenter of Worship with MEMO: Burundi Relief Fund. God Bless you and thank you in advance for all of your prayers and support.

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