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Earlier this today, we reported on a devastating tractor trailer crash that killed eleven people in near Cave City, Kentucky. Now, news sources – including the New York Times, the Associated Press and CNN – have reported that this terrible collision killed eleven members of the Esh family, members of a Mennonite community in central Kentucky.

From CNN:

From the Associated Press:

From the New York Times:

Trooper Charles Swiney of the Kentucky State Police, said that a tractor-trailer had jumped the grass median and collided with the 15-seat Dodge van carrying the Esh party.

Ten of the 12 people in the van were killed, including the Eshes; four of their 12 children; a daughter-in-law; the fiancé of their youngest daughter; a 4-month-old grandchild; and a family friend from another Mennonite community in Franklin, Ky., said Pastor Leroy Kauffman. Trooper Swiney said the truck driver, from Alabama, was killed as well.


“They were a well-loved and well-known family,” he said Friday in a telephone interview.

The Eshes sang at other churches besides their own, and had recorded four gospel albums. Many of their children were active in missionary work overseas. “They had a real mission heart,” the pastor said of the family.


The Eshes left Burkesville in the van around 4 a.m. Central time on Friday, heading north to Iowa to celebrate a wedding, said Sheryl Kauffman, Pastor Kauffman’s wife and a niece of John and Sadie Esh.

The van had gotten as far as a rolling stretch of I-65 between Munfordville and Horse Cave, a lightly populated part of the state about 60 miles from Burkesville, before the accident. The southbound truck that hit the van was loaded with brake drums for tractor-trailers, Trooper Swiney said.

Although there were steel barrier cables on the highway median, the truck was so heavy that it easily broke through. It collided with the van, then hit a rock wall and caught fire. Trooper Swiney said the cause of the accident was under investigation.

He said the accident was the deadliest two-vehicle highway crash in the state since 1988, when a bus carrying a church youth group home from the Kings Island amusement park near Cincinnati was struck by a drunken driver. The Associated Press reported that 27 people were killed in that accident.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to this family, their loved ones and their community. It appears investigators and authorities do not yet know why this eighteen wheeler crashed through the highway median.

Too many people have been killed by semi truck crashes and trucking accidents. 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.

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