The National Transportation Safety Board will review details of a motor home crash that killed five members of a Minnesota family, including looking into laws that allowed a 17-year-old to drive the 57,000-pound vehicle.
NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said the agency wants to determine whether the driver, who was critically injured in the accident Sunday, was “legally able to drive” such a large vehicle and whether the applicable laws and licensing requirements “could have played a role in this accident.”
The crash happened about 9 a.m. Sunday as members of the extended Kerber family were returning to their Jordan home from a trip to Texas. The Kansas State Patrol described the vehicle as a truck that had been set up with living quarters and was towing a trailer. The vehicle broke through a guardrail on Interstate 35 in northeast Kansas outside the town of Williamsburg and plunged into a ravine.
The patrol identified the dead as Tom Kerber, 25, and his wife, Melissa Kerber, 24, both of New Prague, Minn.; and Jessica Kerber, 10, Joy Kerber, 14, and James Kerber, 12, all of Jordan, Minn.
The 13 people injured in the crash were all in the vehicle and range in age from 2 to 30. Several had been released from hospitals by Tuesday. The driver, 17-year-old Adam Kerber, remained in critical condition Tuesday.
Adam Kerber has a driver’s license that wouldn’t have allowed him to drive a commercial vehicle like the one the family was traveling in because of its weight and because it was carrying more than 15 people. But the restrictions did not apply because in Minnesota, a person with a Class D license, which is the most common, can operate a recreational vehicle when it’s for personal use.
It’s unclear what impact an NTSB review of the laws would have. But Minnesota House Public Safety Committee Chairman Tony Cornish, a veteran law enforcement officer, said he has no plans to pursue changes to the law on RV drivers.
Kansas State Patrol trooper Don Hughes said Tuesday it was unlikely charges would be filed in the case.
HOW TO HELP THE FAMILY
A memorial fund has been established to help the family with expenses. Donations can be made to the Kerber Family Fund, HomeTown Bank, 101 S. Creek Lane, Jordan, MN 55352.
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