5 members of Jordan family killed in Kansas crash

11:23 AM, Apr 2, 2012   |    comments
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JORDAN, Minn. - Authorities have officially identified members of a Minnesota family both killed and injured when the freightliner motor home they were in careened off Interstate 35 in Kansas Sunday morning. 

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, the vehicle carrying the family from Jordan hit a guardrail and a bridge rail before crashing into a ravine. 

Killed in the crash were 24-year-old Melissa Kerber, 25-year-old Tom Kerber, 10-year-old Jessica Kerber, 14-year-old Joy Kerber, and 12-year-old James Kerber.

Injured were Adam Kerber, age 17; Timothy Kerber, 15; 2-year-old Payton Hammers; Hannah Kerber, age 5; Matther Hammers, age 30; Cody Slark, age 18; Sarah Kerber, age 14; Nicholas Kerber, age 8; Pauline Kerber, age 46; Matt Vanbank, age 16; Madelyne Barney, age 14; Ashley Henry, age 21; and Zachery Bell, age 16.

The Kansas State Patrol says only two people in the motorhome were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

A family friend has started a Facebook memorial page dedicated to the Kerber family, and is asking the public to log on and leave a message.  

State Patrol investigators say 17-year-old Adam Kerber was at the wheel of the motor home when it plunged into the ravine. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash.

Friends say the five who died in the crash are part of a big, loving family from Jordan that was just getting over the loss of another family member.

Those friends tell KARE 11 that Pauline Kerber was a single mother of 12 children, four of who were killed in the crash along with her daughter-in-law Melissa Kerber.

The family was returning home from a vacation and motocross rally in Texas, according Keith Missel, lead pastor at Friendship Church where the family attended service often.

Missel said an email was sent to the congregation and they've reached out to the family.

"As a Christian community we will stand with them in their time of need," he said.

The Kerbers lost their patriarch five years ago, after which Pauline raised the 12 children alone. Friends say the family was extremely close knit and were very devoted to their faith.

The 13 survivors were rushed to several surrounding hospitals.

One of those hospitals said three of the victims it received were in critical condition. The conditions of the others have not been released.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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