Reported by Caroline Moses
MUNFORDVILLE, Ky.Investigators say they're closer to figuring out what caused a crash that killed a family Friday.
I-Team: Trucker Tried To Stop Rig After Crossing Median
The victims, who lived 30 minutes across the Kentucky state line, were traveling to a wedding in Iowa when a semi on Interstate 65 hit their van head-on. Investigators said they aren't ready to say the exact reason for this accident, but the Channel 4 I-Team has learned the driver may not have been alert until it was too late.
It was just before 5:30 Friday morning when a semi driven by Kenneth Layman crossed the median of I-65 near Munfordville, Ky., and slammed head-on into a van filled with 11 members of the Esh family and one of the women's fiance.
All but two of them were killed. Layman also died.
Investigators have learned after studying the ruts in the interstate that Layman tried to stop his rig, but only after he crossed into the median. Investigators are checking to see if Layman may have fallen asleep. His sister said no.
He used to train truck drivers, so all the nasty comments about fatigue, about drugs or alcohol or lack of sleep, that's not the way he was, said Lori Cook, Laymans sister.
Layman drove for Hester Inc., a trucking company based in Fayette, Ar. He was one of 30 drivers who work for the company. The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into all of them.
"We'll look at the details of the company, its operations, the type of business, how many trucks, how many drivers, what the safety history is, the training, the programs they have for their drivers, the drug testing programs, the fatigue programs they have for their drivers," said Christopher Hart, vice chair of the NTSB.
The I-Team took its own look at Hester Inc. and found that in the last 30 months, more than half of the drivers have violations for driving more than they are supposed to or for not properly recording their hours worked. Hester's out of service rate for drivers who have serious violations is at 11.4 percent -- almost double the national average.
For this reason, the company's safety evaluation for drivers is considered "deficient," according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Web site.
The NTSB said it will continue investigating all aspects of the accident for the next three to seven days. The official cause of the crash will not come out until sometime after that.
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