The Kerber family accident, where five family members were killed, occurred Sunday morning around 9:00 AM in Osage County, Kansas, when their Freightliner truck, which was pulling a box trailer converted into living quarters, (and toting a trailer with motocross bikes inside), hits a guardrail and a bridge, then careens off into a ravine. News footage, seemingly shot from a helicopter, shows debris spread out over the ravine with a shell of the Freightliner truck fundamentally in tact. What really happened?
Attempts to reconstruct the accident are at best, fragmentary. A KCTV 5 article says that the driver, 17-year-old Adam Kerber, had veered off the road, and when he tried to get back on (this was I-35 – the Kerbers were heading home from Texas), he somehow lost control of this 57,000 pound rig, and it crashed into the guardrail, then it jumps off the bridge. Adam tried to get back on the road right when he was approaching a bridge.
How fast was he going? Did Adam have any experience driving one of these semis? How many people had on their seatbelts? How could a provisional driver’s license be adequate in Minnesota law to operate this vehicle, which is very difficult to drive? Apparently, it’s because the semi truck has been converted into a Recreational Vehicle; this is a loophole in Minnesota law. Is it right? No, but it’s legal.
Trying to bash the Kerbers right now is not very good timing. It’s callous and insensitive too, but we are curious how such a horrible accident such as this could occur. The weight of the cab and trailer must have been enormous. There were 18 people going on the spring break vacation, visiting a motocross event in Texas. Adam Kerber is an accomplished dirt bike driver himself, and has won many trophies. Yet, we sense, driving one of these Freightliner trucks (with lots of modifications) is a unique skill from riding a motorcycle.
Those that died last Sunday are: Tom Kerber, 25, his wife, Melissa Kerber, 24, Jessica Kerber, 10, Joy Kerber, 14, and James Kerber, 12. The mother of the four deceased, other than Melissa Kerber, is 46-year-old Pauline Kerber, who survived the accident. The Kerber family is from Jordan, Minn. However, Tom and Melissa lived in New Prague, Minn. Actually, all 13 other passengers were injured. I can’t give you their names, because I don’t have them.
A few small pix of the Kerber family were available in news stories I looked at. KCTV 5 has a photo of Pauline with, I presume, two of her kids. I saw a small photo of Tom and Melissa also. Not much, but it helped to put a face with a very tragic story that makes little sense. An entire family broken to pieces on the first of April at some obscure location. KCTV 5 also has the best footage of the accident site, as we search for answers for why this happened.
A key piece of evidence may be a highway sign for Tequa Creek, which was amongst the debris strewn about the ravaged ravine. Adam must have hit the sign at the very point of impact, and it went tumbling down, over the bridge, with the rest of the elaborately constructed vehicle (it resembles a train). Therefore, investigators will know where the Tequa sign originally was positioned on Interstate 35. This must have been the point of impact. Well, the rest of us may not need to be that academic to see or understand what exactly occurred last Sunday. Still, lots of questions need answers so it won’t happen again.