Jeanny Sharp/The Ottawa Herald
Wreckage from a customized Freightliner truck and trailer rests in the Tequa Creek ravine below I-35. Five of its 18 occupants were killed in the one-vehicle accident when the customized racing team vehicle left the road and went over the side of the bridge at 8:55 a.m. Sunday.
Jeremy Gaston | Editor
WILLIAMSBURG—Five members of a Minnesota family were killed Sunday morning when a box truck and trailer left the highway and crashed into the Tequa Creek ravine, about three miles southwest of Williamsburg.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, the accident happened at 8:55 a.m. Sunday when a 2003 Freightliner box truck pulling a large box trailer left the northbound lanes of Interstate 35. The truck struck a guardrail and concrete bridge rail before going over the edge into the creek below. The truck landed on its wheels, with the trailer on its side in front of the vehicle.
The truck was driven by Adam R. Kerber, 17, Jordan, Minn. There were 17 additional passengers in the vehicle. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Kerber was properly licensed to drive the vehicle for non-commercial purposes.
Fatalities in the wreck were Tom Kerber, 25, and Melissa Kerber, 24, of New Prague, Minn., and Joy Kerber, 14, James Kerber, 12, and Jessica Kerber, 10, all of Jordan, Minn.
Tom, Joy, James and Jessica were children of Pauline Kerber, 46, Jordan; Melissa was the wife of Tom.
Adam and Pauline remained in critical condition at Overland Park Regional Medical Center Tuesday.
Also injured in the accident:
• Payton M. Hammers, 2, of Chaska, Minn., was taken Ransom Memorial Hospital, Ottawa, and transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo.
• Hannah D. Kerber, 5, of Jordan, Minn., was treated and released at Ransom Memorial.
• Nicholas Kerber, 8, of Jordan, Minn, was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital.
• Sarah H. Kerber, 14, of Jordan, Minn., was taken to Stormont-Vail Healthcare, Topeka.
• Madelyne Barney, 14, of Cologne, Minn., was taken Olathe Medical Center and transferred to Children’s Mercy.
• Timothy S. Kerber, 15, of Jordan, Minn., was taken to Ransom Memorial and transferred to Overland Park.
• Matt Vanbank, 16, of Jordan, Minn., was taken to Olathe and transferred to Children’s Mercy.
• Zachery Bell, 16, of Chaska, Minn., was taken to an Olathe Medical Center.
• Cody Slark, 18, of Chaska, Minn., was taken to Stormont-Vail.
• Ashley R. Henry, 21, of Carver, Minn., was treated and released.
• Matthew P. Hammers, 30, of Chaska, Minn., was taken to Stormont-Vail and transferred by air ambulance to KU Medical Center, Kansas City.
A press release from KHP Monday evening said eight of the occupants remained hospitalized, two in critical condition and six in stable condition. Five had been treated and released.
The KHP report said Adam Kerber and Matt Vanbank were the only two in the vehicle wearing safety restraints.
The Star-Tribune reported the family and friends were returning from a motocross vacation in Texas.
I-35 northbound was initially closed, and later reduced to one-lane traffic through Sunday afternoon. The Osage County Sheriff’s Department and Osage County EMS assisted KHP with the accident.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.