MUNFORDVILLE, Ky. — State police say the death toll has risen to 11 in a fiery crash between a tractor-trailer and a van on northbound Interstate 65 in south-central Kentucky.
State police Trooper Charles Swiney says two children survived the crash.
A pastor at a southern Kentucky church says many of the victims were from a Kentucky-based Mennonite family traveling to Iowa in a van that police say was struck head-on by a tractor trailer.
The van was carrying “men, women and children,” Emergency Management Director Kerry McDaniel said. He said the tractor-trailer was going south on I-65 and crossed the median around 5:30 a.m. CDT, striking the van head-on near Munfordville, about 75 miles south of Louisville.
Hart County Coroner Jeff Roten confirmed the number dead in a phone call with The Associated Press.
The truck hit a rock wall and burst into flames. McDaniel said the truck’s driver was killed.
Kentucky transportation officials say the interstate is expected to be closed for at least eight hours.
McDaniel said the truck was burned beyond recognition. Its cargo included automobile wheel castings.
The county’s judge-executive, Terry Martin, said the stretch of interstate where the accident occurred can be treacherous because it narrows from three lanes to two for motorists going south into Hart County.
“That’s where it seems like the bottleneck occurs,” Martin said. “I don’t know if they’re just not seeing or slowing down, but it gets more congested.”
Martin called it a “sad, sad situation.”