Trucker charged in crash that killed family of 5
OGALLALA, Neb. -- The truck driver involved in a Nebraska crash that killed a Twin Cities family of five has been charged in connection with their deaths last weekend.
Meanwhile, officials say a sixth victim of the fiery crash is on life support awaiting the donation of his organs.
Jamison and Kathryne Pals, both 29, died along with their three children, 3-year-old Ezra; Violet, who was almost 2; and 2-month-old Calvin.
The couple, who most recently lived in Minneapolis, were on their way to Colorado for a monthlong training session before departing this fall to work as missionaries in Japan.
The driver facing charges in the crash is 53-year-old Tony Weekly. The Baker, Fla., man remained jailed Tuesday. Bail was set at $100,000.
The Nebraska State Patrol said Weekly was inattentive and speeding through a construction zone late Sunday morning when his semitrailer truck hit several vehicles on Interstate 80 in western Nebraska.
Multiple charges were filed against Weekly on Tuesday, according to the Omaha World-Herald. The charges in Keith County Court included five counts of felony motor vehicle homicide and one count of reckless driving, the newspaper reported.
The State Patrol also said Tuesday it was notified of the “legal death” of 56-year-old Terry Sullivan of Denver. The patrol said Sullivan is on life support in a Colorado hospital to facilitate organ donation.
Witnesses said Weekly’s truck “did not slow down until hitting” the Palses’ minivan, trooper Darrell Crawford said in the arrest affidavit, according to the World-Herald.
The force of the collision pushed the two vehicles into three other westbound vehicles. The semi and the Palses’ minivan both erupted in flames.
The Palses’ minivan ran into the back of a minivan driven by Sullivan.
Five other motorists involved in the collision suffered lesser injuries.
Funeral services for the Pals family will be held at their church, Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, though plans were still being finalized Tuesday.
A campaign at gofundme.com/joyofjapan had raised nearly $15,000 as of Tuesday evening to send the family’s cremated remains to Japan and to support other mission trips to the country.