LYON COUNTY, KY (WSMV) - A college student from Kansas lost his life in a 12-vehicle crash on Interstate 24 eastbound in Lyon County, Kentucky on Friday evening.

Kentucky State Police said the wreck happened around 4:30 p.m., including a tractor trailer. 

The eastbound lanes were closed for about 12 hours as police investigated.

Officials said traffic was slowed down in the area Friday afternoon due to construction.

KSP investigators said a man driving a tractor trailer ran into the slowed traffic, causing a chain-reaction collision that left multiple people injured, and claimed one person's life.

According to witness statements and evidence gathered so far, police said that inattention on behalf of the tractor trailer driver, Coleman A. Strachman, 42, of Sharpsburg, NC, was a contributing factor in the wreck.

Officers said Jace Ashton Lee Smothers, 19, of Norton, KS, was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Lyon County Coroner.

Smothers was a passenger in a van occupied by several people.

The young man was a student at Ozark Christian College. In a statement, the school said, "OCC is mourning the tragic loss of our beloved student, classmate, and friend, Jace Smothers. Please join us in praying for our Ozark family and especially for Jace's family. We are grateful to have known Jace, but we deeply grieve his absence. Read President Proctor's message to the Ozark community here:

The van was registered to Christ in Youth Incorporated out of Joplin, MO. 

Police said about 22 people were involved in the crash and suffered some sort of injury, two of those were critically injured.

Four people were airlifted to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville for treatment; one still remains hospitalized there Saturday.

One person was airlifted to Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.

Eight people were transported via EMS by ground to other local hospitals.

The remaining individuals were released, police said.

Some out-of-town travelers are staying at local hotels.

The investigation is continuing by Kentucky State Police, and anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-5555.

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