Six people were killed when a tractor-trailer plowed into an SUV carrying eight people in Kentucky, setting the car ablaze.
Police said they believe the driver of the tractor-trailer may have been distracted after he told authorities that he saw the vehicle in front of him but could not hit the brakes in time.
“There was a reason for that and we’re trying to figure out what the reason was,” Master Trooper Norman Chaffins told The Associated Press. Police added that they were looking to the driver’s logs and gave him blood tests.
The car crash that killed six people was followed 15 minutes later by a multi-vehicle crash on the opposite side of Interstate 65, authorities said, leaving three more people injured. Police said they think rubbernecking was the cause.
The six people killed in the Kentucky crash were identified as members of a family from Marion, Wisconsin. The dead were identified as James Gollnow, 62, and his wife, Barbara Gollnow, 62; Marion Champnise, 92, a friend; foster children Gabriel Zumig, 10, and Soledad Smith, 8; and Sarina Gollnow, 18, whose relationship to the others was not known.
Two other foster children were in the crash and survived — Hope Hoth, 15, and Aidian Ejnik, 12. Their injuries were initially described as life-threatening, WLKY reported.
The crash occurred when the 1999 Ford Expedition carrying the family members was hit from behind, sending it smashing into the car in front of it. Though the driver of the front vehicle suffered minor injuries, the Expedition burst into flames. Witnesses said two people emerged from the flaming car and one appeared to still be on fire.
After the crash that killed six people in Kentucky, police closed Interstate 65 in both directions.