Munfordville, KY Tractor Trailer and Van Collision, Mar 2010
10 FAMILY MEMBERS AMONG 11 KILLED IN I-65 CRASH.
TRACTOR TRAILER CROSSES MEDIAN, HITS VAN.
Munfordville, Ky. - Eleven people were killed early Friday morning when a tractor-trailer crashed into a van on northbound Interstate 65 in south-central Kentucky.
Two children survived the crash.
Officials said the crash occurred at about 5:16 a.m. CDT at the 63 mile marker in the north-bound lane.
State police said the tractor-trailer crossed over the median and hit the van.
Both northbound lanes were closed at Exit 58 from the time of the crash until just before 4 p.m. Friday.
Police said 10 of 12 people in the van were killed in the crash. The driver of the tractor-trailer was traveling alone and was also killed.
Hart County coroner Jeff Roten said the victims in the van were members of the ESH family and two friends.
Roten said JOHN and SADIE ESH died in the crash, along with their three daughters, ROSE, ANNA and RACHEL, and son LEROY. LEROY ESH's wife, NAOMI, and 2-month-old son JALEN were killed in the crash, but sons JOHNNY and JOSIAH survived.
Roten said RACHEL ESH'S fiancé, JOEL GINGRICH, and family friend ASHLEY KRAMER were also killed in the crash.
The coroner said the driver of the tractor-trailer will have to be identified using dental records.
A pastor for the ESH family said they were on their way to a wedding in Iowa.
The ESH family was from Marrowbone, Ky., population 43, in Cumberland County near the Tennessee border.
The ESHES were described by community members as being 'very active' at Marrowbone Christian Brotherhood.
Their community is relying on faith to help them cope with the loss of so many friends and loved ones.
"This isn't an accident. This was God who knew this from the beginning, and that will be one of the things that the community will do to accept it as the will of God, and we have confidence that they were saved," said Kai Steinmann, a family friend.
"We accept it as God's will, it's going to be hard, but we accept it that way," Kauffman said.
Cumberland County Sheriff James Pruitt said he knew the family and that their loss has devastated the tight-knit community.
The ESH family's home burned down just before Christmas and community members came together to help rebuild the home in just 17 days.
Several years ago, another son died in a snowmobile accident while doing mission work in Ukraine.
The family owns a vinyl building company and was described by community residents as "a very nice family."
The tractor-trailer is registered in Alabama. According to Kentucky State Police, the tractor-trailer lost control, crossed the median, hit the van, then hit the rock wall and burst into flames.
"This was a completely loaded tractor-trailer loaded with brake drums for tractor-trailers, so it was a very heavy vehicle," Trooper Charles Swiney of Kentucky State Police told WLKY. "And just due to the size and magnitude of that tractor-trailer, and with it being fully loaded, the barriers weren't effective with this incident."
Kentucky's cable barriers exceed the federal highway administration guidelines for safety and strength. They can withstand tremendous impact and tension. However, they are not made to stop a tractor-trailer.
"There will be incidents that we can't prevent. That's dependent on many factors; speed, weight of vehicle, angle of impact," Director of Kentucky Highway Design Jeff Jasper said.
This is the first fatality along any stretch of Kentucky highway that has cable barriers since their installation.
WLKY News Louisville Kentucky 2010-03-26