HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Saturday marked the first deadly crash of 2013 on Interstate 65 in Elizabethtown. Six people were killed in the crash and two others were injured. Police say their SUV was rear-ended by a tractor trailer and then burst into flames.
62-two-year-old James Gollnow and his wife 62-year-old Barbara were killed in the crash along with their 18-year-old daughter, Sereena. The family's friend, 92-year-old Marion Chapnoise, and foster children, 10-year-old Gabriel Zumigand and 8-year-old Soledad Smith also died in the same crash.
Police say that two other foster children survived the crash, but were hospitalized for their injuries.
"I was completely in shock," Deb Rades, a neighbor of the Gollnow family.
The family was traveling back from Florida to Wisconsin. Neighbors were horrified to learn what prevented them from making it home, "Barb and Jim were very caring people. They were always taking in foster kids. They made a lot of difference in the kids they worked with."
Officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet say they are focused on fixing thirty-three miles of Interstate 65 between Hardin and Hart County. Chuck Wolfe, the Public Affairs Director says the end goal is to widen the four lane stretch of highway to six lanes.
"It is prone to congestion and creates conditions for crashes to occur," Wolfe says.
In 2010, thirteen people were killed in crashes in this area in three different wrecks. In 2011, eight people were killed in six fatality crashes. Last year, there were two people killed in two separate wrecks.
Wolfe says the state takes safety seriously and that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is working to have zero deaths.
"We're hopeful the construction portion, that everything can be ready for construction by 2018. But again it is dependent on funding," says Wolfe.
Wolfe says the state has already implemented some highway safety measures on I-65 including cable guardrails and concrete barriers to help prevent cross-over crashes.