LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A fiery crash in Kentucky killed six people, including three children, and injured four others Thursday night more after a station wagon lost control on a busy highway, crossed the median and plowed head-on into a van, police said.
Horrified witnesses stopped to offer assistance, and some tried to pull the van away from the burning station wagon on a stretch of U.S. 27 in Nicholasville in central Kentucky, authorities said.
"In my 16 years in law enforcement, it was the worst wreck I've seen," Nicholasville police Sgt. Scott Harvey said Friday.
Names of the victims had not yet been released. The bodies were taken to a medical examiner's office to determine their identities and cause of death, the Jessamine County coroner's office said.
Police were investigating the cause of the crash Friday.
"We don't know at this time what caused them to lose control," Harvey said.
The injured were taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in nearby Lexington. A hospital spokeswoman said she could not comment on their condition. Harvey said at least two of the injured underwent surgery, but he didn't know the extent of their injuries.
Five people were in both vehicles, he said. The crash occurred shortly after 9 p.m. EDT Thursday on a straight stretch of highway where the speed limit is 55 mph. Nicholasville is about 15 miles southwest of Lexington, and the road is a main link between the two cities.
It did not appear that alcohol was involved in the crash, Harvey said.
All five people in the station wagon were killed — two adults, two girls and one boy, Harvey said. Also killed was a passenger in the van, he said. All six were pronounced dead at the scene.
The station wagon was found flipped on its top and fully engulfed in flames when authorities arrived, Harvey said. Three people were still inside the station wagon and two others were found several feet away, he said.
A number of motorists stopped to offer assistance.
"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," he said. "We're doing everything we can for the four."
Harvey said he saw a woman in a doctor's coat and carrying a stethoscope who stopped to offer assistance.
"There were several people who told me they actually tried to pull the van further away from the flames," he said.
The van did not catch on fire, he said.