The Nebraska State Patrol issued the following release at noon today:
LINCOLN -- The three people killed in a fiery chain reaction accident
on I-80 west of North Platte have been identified. Killed in the 2:05 p.m. multi-vehicle crash were 70-year-old John Latham, of Springfield, Nebraska, 54-year-old Jeanne Kerechanin, of Manitou Springs, Colorado and 46-year-old Pamela Hartman of Manitou Springs. Troopers say the chain reaction accident occurred when the driver of a semi-trailer truck headed eastbound on I-80 about six miles west of North Platte, slowed due to poor visibility caused by blowing dust. The slowed semi was then struck from behind by a semi driven by 70-year-old John Latham, who died in the crash.
The initial crash started a chain reaction pileup involving a total of five semis and three cars. Jeanne Kerechanin was the driver of one of the vehicles involved in the crash. Pamela Hartman was a passenger in her car. Three semis and two cars were engulfed in flames, making identification of the deceased difficult.
Four people involved in the crash were transported to hospitals for treatment of injuries. Injured was 30-year-old Nathaniel Copt of Golden, Colorado. Copt was the driver of one of the cars.
His wife Britta (age unknown) was also injured. The pair were flown to a Denver Hospital. The driver of another car, 50-year-old Richard Moore of Wallace, Nebraska was flown to a Lincoln Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Semi driver 52-year-old Craig Lanning of Galva, Iowa was transported to Great Plains Medical Center in North Platte.
Both lanes of the Interstate were closed for a period of time from the North Platte interchange to the Sutherland Interchange. The westbound lanes of I-80 were reopened at 7 p.m. Thursday night. Eastbound I-80 was reopened at 12:15 a.m. Friday.