Six people from Wisconsin died over the weekend in a fiery Northern Kentucky crash. On Saturday, March 2, 2013, a family from Marion was traveling on Interstate 65 south of Elizabethtown when the traffic accident occurred, causing their vehicle to catch on fire at about 11:00 a.m.
According to police, the family was in their 1999 Ford Expedition when a semi-truck rear-ended their vehicle, sending the SUV over the median. When the SUV got pushed over the median, it slammed head-on into another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Upon impact, the Expedition burst into flames.
Witnesses reported seeing two people emerge from the fire; however, six others died of the injuries they sustained in the crash or fire. The two that survived are Hope Hoth, 15, and Aidian Ejnik, 12. Both survivors were foster children of the husband and wife who died in the crash. The six who did not survive include James Gollnow, 62; his wife Barbara, 62; Marion Champnise, 92, a friend; Sarina Gollnow, 18, family member; Soledad Smith, 8, foster child; and Gabriel Zumiga, 10, foster child.
The two children who survived the blaze did so because another motorist broke out the rear window and pulled them from the SUV. Hope Hoth was taken to a Lexington hospital for medical treatment of her burns and a broken spine, and Aidian Ejnik was transported to a Louisville hospital for treatment of cuts to the back of his head.
The family was reportedly coming back home from Orlando when this crash took place. Police said the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames. Police also indicated that distracted driving by a truck driver may have contributed to the wreck; however, an investigation is still underway.
The Law Office of Schachter, Hendy & Johnson would like to wish the injured children a full and fast recovery and would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Gollnow family and their friends during this time.