11 killed after church van, truck collide in Kentucky

MUNFORDVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A truck crossed a Kentucky interstate median and hit a Mennonite church van headed to a wedding, killing 11 people, state police said Friday.

State police Trooper Charles Swiney said two children survived the crash with the tractor-trailer on northbound Interstate 65.

A pastor for the family in the van says they were Mennonites on their way to a wedding in Iowa. Authorities say the truck driver was also killed.

Officials say the tractor-trailer crossed the median and struck the church van head-on around 5:30 a.m. CDT near Munfordville, about 75 miles south of Louisville.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was dispatching a team to investigate the crash.

Pastor Leroy Kauffman with the Marrowbone Christian Brotherhood in Burkesville says the two surviving children were taken to a nearby hospital.

Kauffman said there were three young children on board ages 1, 3 and 5. He said the father was an assistant pastor at the church and there was also a couple on board the van who were engaged to be married, although they were traveling to someone else’s wedding.

“They had a July wedding planned but they won’t need that now,” Kauffman said. “They’ll have a wedding in heaven I guess.”

He said the family’s house burned down in December and they had just moved into a new home built by church members.

“We’re experiencing a lot of heartache and a lot of sadness, but with that a hope,” Kauffman said. “We know where these people are going, they were all saved Christians and walking with the Lord.”

Updated: March 26, 2010 — 10:45 am

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  1. This is a tragedy of unbelievable proportion for those involved in any manner.

    As the Herald-Leader says: “Friday’s early morning crash was the most deadly Kentucky crash since May 14, 1988 when 27 people were killed in a fiery bus crash caused by a drunken driver going the wrong way on Interstate 71 in Carroll County. The bus was bringing a church youth group home from an amusement park.”

    It’s tragic that the two deadliest crashes in Kentucky history both involved church or religious groups.

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