- Police say six members of an extended Wisconsin family were killed and two injured when their SUV was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and burst into flames on a Kentucky highway. Minutes later, another crash in the opposite direction injured three, one critically.
Police say the first crash happened at 11:13 a.m. EST Saturday on northbound Interstate 65 near Elizabethtown.
Police say all occupants of the SUV were from Marion, Wis. They were identified as James Gollnow, 62, and his wife Barbara, 62; Marion Champnise, 92; Sarina Gollnow, 18; Soledad Smith, 8; and Gabriel Zumiga, 10.
Police said Soledad and Gabriel were foster children.
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.
Police say after the SUV was hit, it hit the car in front of it, but the driver of that vehicle had only minor injuries.
The SUV was ``totally engulfed in flames. It was totally destroyed by the fire,'' Master Trooper Norman Chaffins 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 two crashes shut down the busy stretch of highway for about five hours.
Chaffins says despite snow flurries, weather was not a factor in either crash.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured and was cooperating with police, Chaffins said. He was not identified.
``He's obviously pretty torn up about everything,'' he said.
Written By: Associated Press