Several news outlets, including CNN, WLKY, LEX18, WAVE3, and WKYT and reported that at least 10 people were killed after a tractor trailer crossed the median on I-65 and crashed into a van near Munfordville, KY and Cave City, KY.
NBC News has reported the death toll at 11.
(CNN) — At least 10 people were killed in a wreck on Interstate 65 in Kentucky on Friday morning, a spokesman for the Kentucky State Police said.
The wreck happened between 5:30 and 6 a.m., said Lt. David Jude.
A tractor-trailer apparently crossed the median and hit a passenger van head on, he said. Most of the 10 who died were in the van, he said.
"The scene is really chaotic right now," he said.
The wreck happened at mile marker 63 on I-65 in southwestern Kentucky. The wreck site is roughly 40 miles northwest of the city of Bowling Green, near Mammoth Cave National Park.
Kentucky State Police are on the scene of an accident with multiple fatalities on I-65 near Cave City.
Officials say that at least 11 people were killed, but State Police will not confirm the exact number of fatalities and say the total could grow.
Police say the accident happened about 5:17 a.m.central time in the northbound lanes at the 63 mile marker. A department of transportation official says a southbound semi-truck crossed the median and crashed head-on into an 18-passenger van. The driver of the semi was killed, along with multiple passengers in the van.
Other passengers in the van were transported to the hospital.
LEX 18 has learned the passengers in the van were Mennonites.
Coroners from other counties are on the way to the scene to assist the Hart County Coroner.
Police have set up a detour on northbound I-65. Traffic is being routed off at Exit 58 to KY218, then to northbound US31W and on to westbound KY61. Traffic will re-enter I-65 N at Exit 91.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved in this horrific crash. It appears from news reports that very few details about the crash are known at this time. One has to wonder what caused this eighteen wheeler to cross the median and crash into this van full of people.
All motorists — and especially semi truck drivers with 80,000 pound rigs — are supposed to be alert and leave enough room in front of them to be able to avoid crashes like this one. Now, I agree that the vast majority of truckers out there are safe, but even a few bad apples give all the other tractor trailer drivers a bad name.
Nationwide, large trucks (known as tractor trailers, semi trucks, eighteen wheelers, diesel, big rigs, or commercial trucks) make up only about 3% of the vehicles on the road. However, they account for far more traffic fatalities. For example, in Missouri, semi truck crashes make up as much as 15% of traffic deaths. In Illinois, tractor trailer crashes cause more than 10% of traffic deaths.
Within the last several weeks, a truck driver was doing paper work while driving and crashed through several motorcycles in Phoenix killing three people, a tractor trailer caused a massive 50 car pile up on Interstate 80 in Wyoming, an eighteen wheeler crashed into the back of a Greyhound bus near Bowling Green, a truck driver slammed into a woman’s parked vehicle while he was watching streaming porn on a laptop while driving. A truck driver slammed into the back of a passenger van in Indiana. A semi truck crashed into a parked vehicle in Texas. Late last year, a trucker never even hit his brakes before crashing into a minivan stopped in traffic and killed a three-year-old boy.
Why do crashes like this keep happening? The most likely answers are distracted driving and fatigue, although it appears weather may have been factor in the Wyoming pile up.
Earlier this year, the federal government enacted regulations to crack down on distracted driving by truck and bus drivers. A study by Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute found that distracted truck drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or a close call.
Driver fatigue is also a particularly dangerous — and completely preventable — cause of trucking accidents. Nearly 15 years ago, the NTSB issued a report warning of truck driver fatigue dangers.
The NTSB found that trucker fatigue was a contributing factor in 30%-40% of all diesel truck accidents. The NTSB found that proper sleep patterns are imperative for truck driver safety. Truckers must get 8 hours of continuous sleep after driving for 10 hours or after being on duty for 15 hours for proper safety.
The NTSB has also issued a warning that truck drivers should also be screened for a medical condition called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea denies people the rest they need, and it has been found to be a factor in incident involving every transportation mode, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in letters.
Too many people have been killed by semi truck crashes and trucking accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") lists the following as some of the most common causes of big rig accidents:
Poor Driver Training
Driver Fatigue (Tiredness)
Poor Driving Conditions
Failure To Yield The Right-Of-Way
Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol Or Drugs
Aggressive, Dangerous Or Reckless Driving
Mechanical Failure (Or Improper Maintenance)
Defective Parts (Such As Defective Steering Or Brakes)
Truckers and trucking companies must be mindful of each of these trucking accident causes.
Driving an 80,000 tractor trailer covering hundreds of thousands of miles is an awesome responsibility. Truckers and trucking corporations must be vigilant about safety.
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.