Crash witness and rescuer describe deadly scene

Published: Mar. 27, 2010 at 12:57 AM EDT|Updated: May. 10, 2010 at 3:17 PM EDT
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Andy Burkhardt
Andy Burkhardt

By Jon Chrisos – bio | email         
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

MUNFORDVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Eleven people died after a tractor-trailer crossed the Interstate 65 median and slammed head-on into a van in Hart County. 10 of the victims were inside the van; the only survivors were two children, ages 4 and 5. Hours after the crash, we talked with the man who helped save their lives.

Truck driver Andy Burkhardt saw the crash unfold in front of him. He was traveling north on Interstate 65 near mile marker 63 around 6:15 a.m. Eastern time on March 26, Burkhardt was heading home to Michigan when he witnessed the crash, one that he describes as horrific.

"I saw the truck come across the median. I saw the truck hit the car, and I saw the car spin around, and saw the truck go into the cliff," Burkhardt said.

It was a trip turned tragic for the Cumberland County family. A fatal crash less than 15 minutes after getting on the road Friday morning. The 12 people in the van, many of them from the Cumberland County community of Marrowbone, had not been on the road long. The group was heading to a weekend wedding in Iowa.

"Two children who were still alive,"Burkhardt said. "We removed the kids from the car, and we put them inside my truck to keep warm until EMS arrived."

Burkhardt says there was nothing heroic about what he did.

"It's something you have to do," said Burkhardt. "They're kids. I have kids of my own."

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