Nebraska Patrol Says 5 People Killed in SUV-Semi Collision

By Web Staff

BRIDGEPORT, Nebraska—Authorities say five people died when their vehicle collided with a semitrailer on a Nebraska Panhandle highway.

The crash occurred a little before 6 p.m. Sunday, around 10 miles north of Bridgeport on U.S. Highway 385.

The Nebraska State Patrol says the northbound sport utility vehicle went out of control, crossed the center line and hit the oncoming semi. The patrol says two adults and children ages 9, 13 and 14 were killed. Their names and relationships haven’t been released.

Station KNEB reports that the truck driver was taken to Morrill County Community Hospital in Bridgeport. His name is not yet available.

The accident is being investigated.

Teen Driver in Nebraska Accident Was Drunk and Speeding

A 16-year-old driver of a vehicle, which crashed in Nebraska in June, killing her and three of her four passengers, was speeding and driving over the legal alcohol limit, authorities confirmed.

A forensic examination in July found that at the time of the crash, the teen, Abigail Barth, was driving over 90 mph and had a blood alcohol reading of .09 after the crash, reported Omaha World-Herald.

The deadly crash killed the teen driver, as well as three of her close friends; Alex Minardi, 15, Kloe Odermatt, 16, and Addisyn Pfeifer, also 16. They were all students at Gretna High School and would have begun their 11th grade this year.

All except one in the vehicle tested positive for alcohol, authorities said. Minardi had a blood alcohol reading of .02; Brandon .05; and Odermatt .10, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Nebraska law states it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to drink alcohol, and have a blood alcohol reading higher than .02. For those 21 and above, it is against the law to have a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or greater.

An individual aged 21 and under who has a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or above will receive the same penalties as an adult offender.

Spike in Teen Driving Accidents

As the end of the academic year approaches, law enforcement and AAA have warned there may be a sudden surge in teen driving accidents.

One in six crashes involving young people are caused by distractions, such as phones and even other passengers, AAA officials said, reported WBNS.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is estimated that the likelihood of fatal teen crashes increases by 17 percent.

AAA spokeswoman, Kara Hitchens, said teens are more likely to drive recklessly during the summer months.

“They aren’t driving to school or to work as much,” she said. “They have more free time and may drive more recklessly.”

The Associated Press and Epoch Times reporter Isabel van Brugen contributed to this report.