A semi-truck crashed into a car that was slowed in a construction zone on Interstate 70 in Indiana, killing four children, and now police believe drugs factored into the accident.
A 2004 Kenworth semi pulling a box trailer was driving on the interstate in Wayne County before it attempted to merge left into the passing lane in a construction zone, police told WANE-TV. Officials said the truck “failed to slow down” before hitting a Chevrolet vehicle, pushing the car into another semi-truck.
The four children inside the vehicle who died were identified as 15-year-old Anesa Noel Acosta, 13-year-old Quintin Michael McGowan, 8-year-old Brekkin Riley Bruce, and 6-year-old Trentin Beau Bruce, authorities said. The driver, 34-year-old Aaron Bruce, suffered severe injuries and was transported to a hospital.
Cory Withrow, the semi-truck driver, escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police said in a statement that “drugs were a contributing factor in causing the crash and that criminal charges are forthcoming” before Withrow was taken to the Wayne County Jail on driving while intoxicated and reckless homicide charges.
“The Kenworth failed to slow down and hit a Chevrolet passenger car in the rear that was slowed in the right lane, pushing it forward into the left rear corner of a semi trailer which was also in the right lane directly in front of the passenger car,” said a news release from Indiana State Police. “The first semi continued pushing the passenger car into the left lane and eventually off onto the berm of the left lane where the two vehicles burst into flames. A passerby was able to pull the driver of the passenger car out of the vehicle, but none of his passengers.”
Officials said the other semi-truck driver, Thomas Flaherty, was not injured, WISH-TV reported.
Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter, meanwhile, said that an investigation is underway.
“Investigators were able to review data as well as other evidence indicating traffic was flowing freely at the time of the crash and were able to rule out any back-up or stopped traffic contributing to the crash,” Retter said, according to WHIO. “Officers investigating the crash suspected Withrow was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash. Preliminary toxicology reports indicated that Withrow had multiple drugs in his system,” Retter said.
Other details about the incident were not provided.