Truck driver identified in Mennonite family crash, NTSB announces investigation


by Melanie Kahn

Posted on March 27, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 28 at 6:19 PM

Funeral arrangements are set for ten of the eleven victims killed Friday in a crossover crash in south-central Kentucky.

The tragedy is affecting the entire community of Marrowbone, Kentucky.

NTSB investigators say they are still in the very early stages of this investigation, which they describe as comprehensive.

Over the next few months they will be looking into everything from the health of the truck driver to the construction of the highway at the site of this crash.

Meanwhile, the small town of Marrowbone is preparing to say good-bye to victims of this crash.

"It's hard for us to deal with. The church here is really hurting," said one friend of the family, “I couldn't hardly believe it. It was really hard. It’s still very hard. We’re gonna be hurt for a long time." 

As friends and family prepare to bury 10 of the 11 people who died in a fatal crash near Munfordville on Friday morning, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are working to figure out what caused this tragedy.

John and Sadie Esh, daughters Rose, Anna and Rachel, son Leroy, daughter in law Naomi and grandson Jalen all died when an 18-wheeler plowed into their van as they were going to a wedding in Iowa.

Rachel's fiancé Joel Gingerich and family friend Ashley Kramer also died.

Now there’s an effort to prevent accidents like this from ever happening again.
The NTSB investigates about ten crashes a year in the United States.

The Vice-Chairman of the department tells WHAS, they are investigating this crash because of the large number of fatalities.

Christopher Hart, Vice-Chairman NTSB said, "One of the things we'll be looking at is whether there are some systemic factors in this crash that  we need to look at to see if this was just an isolated incident or is it a manifestation of a bigger problem that we need to address."

In the meantime, the entire Marrowbone community is trying to help the surviving members of this family, including two little boys, Johnny and Josiah,who managed to escape from this crash unharmed by filling this small community center with food, mowing the family's lawn and by helping to dig, what will be, the victims' final resting place.

The NTSB says their investigation will likely take several months to complete.

They tell us there are barriers that can be built along highways that can withstand the force of a loaded semi-truck.

Those kinds of barriers were not at the site of this crash.

The Hart County Coroner says the driver was 45-year-old Kenneth Laymon.

He worked for the Fayette, Alabama based company Hester Incorporated.

Federal records show the company had recorded no deaths and just one injury accident in the past two years.

No word yet on funeral announcements for Laymon.