6 killed in fiery wreck in central Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A station wagon lost control on a busy highway, crossed the median and plowed head-on into a minivan, sparking a fiery crash that killed six people — including three children — in central Kentucky.
The late night crash in Nicholasville killed a family of five along with a woman traveling in a church van who had joined a group that was helping her get out of the sex industry.
Police say no alcohol was involved in the crash.
“In my 16 years in law enforcement, it was the worst wreck I’ve seen,” Nicholasville police Sgt. Scott Harvey said.
After the crash — reported about 9:15 p.m. Thursday on a straight stretch of U.S. 27, the main link to Lexington — the station wagon was flipped on its top and engulfed in flames, Harvey said.
When authorities arrived, three people were still inside in the station wagon, and its other two occupants were several feet away.
Horrified motorists, including a woman in a doctor’s coat and stethoscope, tried to help. Some attempted to pull the van away from the burning station wagon. The van did not catch fire.
“Whoever could help was trying to do what they could, but unfortunately there was just not a whole lot that could have been done for the six,” Harvey said.
All five people traveling in the station wagon — two adults and three children — were killed, and one woman in the van died, police said.
“We don’t know at this time what caused them to lose control,” Harvey said.
Alice Tankersley of Nicholasville said her grandson, Steven Hibbard, 25, was killed along with his wife, Shaila, 25, and children, 7-year-old James, 5-year-old Alyssa and 3-year-old Kylee. They were in the station wagon. The Hibbard family was listed on the website of Hager and Cundiff Funeral Home, but arrangements were pending Friday night.
“They were just a very close family,” Tankersley said. “He loved his family and would have done anything in the world for them.”
The van belonged to the group Refuge for Women, which gives women who work as escorts or prostitutes a place to live and a way out of the adult entertainment business, said executive director Ked Frank. Four women in the van, including the victim, were in the group’s program, Frank said, and the driver was an intern at the center. The four injured in the van were in critical condition at a hospital but they were expected to survive, Frank said Friday evening.
“Looking at the vehicle, today, it’s a miracle that four walked away from that,” Frank said.
Hibbard and his wife had recently started new jobs, with Steven working for an office-cleaning business and Shaila working at a Wal-Mart store, she said. Steven Hibbard had been unable to work for about a year after injuring his leg, his grandmother said. The family had been living with relatives but the couple was fixing up a mobile home to move into, she said.