Kentucky Highway Accident Kills 6, Injures 5


Kentucky Highway Accident Kills 6, Injures 5

A tractor-trailer crashed into an SUV carrying 8 people Saturday, killing 6 of the passengers.  The accident was most likely the cause of another accident on the opposite side of the highway.

Kentucky state police are reporting that the truck driver is “telling us that he saw the vehicle that was in front of him and he hit the brakes and he didn’t hit them in time,” Master Trooper Norman Chaffins said. ” … There was a reason for that and we’re trying to figure out what the reason was.”

The accident happened in the late morning hours.  Fifteen minutes later an accident occurred on the opposite side of highway 65, injuring 3 people.

Chaffins said despite snow flurries, weather was not a factor in Saturday’s crashes. He said police were also looking into the truck driver’s logs and had taken blood tests.

The six killed were identified as members of an extended family from Marion, Wis. They were identified as James Gollnow, 62, and his wife, Barbara Gollnow, 62; Marion Champnise, 92, a friend; Sarina Gollnow, 18, relationship unknown; and foster children Gabriel Zumig, 10, and Soledad Smith, 8.

The two survivors were also foster children. Police identified them as Hope Hoth, 15, who was transported to a hospital in Lexington with burns and a broken spine; and Aidian Ejnik, 12, who was taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville with cuts to the back of his head.

Chaffins described both of the children’s injuries as non-life-threatening.

Patrolmen believe the accident on the other side of the highway was the result of driver’s distraction due to the severity of the accident on the opposite highway’s direction.  The Expedition was “totally engulfed in flames. It was totally destroyed by the fire,” he said, adding, “It’s just a charred mess.”

He said one eyewitness told police two people emerged from the blaze and one appeared to be on fire.

The driver of the tractor-trailer is fully cooperating with authorities.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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