Four children were killed and one man was transported to Indianapolis with burns after a crash on Interstate 70 near Cambridge City on Thursday, July 9. Supplied by Indiana State Police

Drugs used by a semi driver were a contributing factor in a fatal accident that killed four children in a car that became fully engulfed in flames Thursday evening after a crash on Interstate 70, police said.
Wayne County deputies responded to a three-vehicle crash shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, July 9, a little west of the I-70 Cambridge City exit, just west of a construction zone.
Deputies arrived to find a Chevrolet car and semi pulling a box trailer off the left side of eastbound I-70 fully engulfed, according to a news release from Indiana State Police Sgt. John Bowling.
A passerby was able to pull the car’s driver out of the vehicle, but none of his passengers, Bowling said.
The car’s driver, Aaron Bruce, 34, of Kansas City, Missouri, was transported by medical helicopter to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, where he was admitted to the burn unit in critical condition, said Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter.
Indiana State Police Investigators have confirmed four children died in the car: Anesa Noel Acosta, 15; Quintin Michael McGowan, 13; Brekkin Riley Bruce, 8; and Trentin Beau Bruce, 6.
Local fire departments responded to help extinguish the flames, including Cambridge City, Hagerstown and Greens Fork.
In a joint effort, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department requested Indiana State Police Crash Scene Reconstruction Investigators work the traffic investigation and they would take the criminal investigation.
The preliminary investigation indicates that a 2004 Kenworth Tractor pulling a loaded box trailer was eastbound in the right (driving lane) when the truck came upon traffic that was slowed to merge left into the left passing lane for a construction zone.
The Kenworth failed to slow down and hit a Chevrolet passenger car in the rear that was slowed in the right lane, pushing it forward into the left rear corner of a semi trailer, which also was in the right lane directly in front of the passenger car, police said.
The first semi continued pushing the passenger car into the left lane and eventually off onto the berm of the left lane, where the two vehicles burst into flames.
The driver of the Kenworth, Corey Withrow, 31, of Camden, Ohio, escaped his burning semi with non-life-threatening injuries. He was transported to Reid Health in Richmond.
The driver of the second semi, Thomas Flaherty, 57, of Springfield, Ohio, was uninjured.
Retter said an initial investigation revealed that Withrow was driving erratically prior to the crash, also at a high rate of speed while in the construction zone on I-70.
Investigators were able to review data as well as other evidence indicating traffic was flowing freely at the time of the crash and were able to rule out any back-up or stopped traffic contributing to the crash, Retter said.
Officers investigating the crash suspected Withrow was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident, Retter said. Preliminary toxicology reports indicated that Withrow had multiple drugs in his system.
Withrow was arrested at 1:20 a.m. Friday and booked into the Wayne County Jail on preliminary charges of four counts of reckless homicide and operating while intoxicated causing death (Level 4 felonies) and one count of operating while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury (Level 5 felony). Withrow still was incarcerated as of Friday morning.
“Investigation into the crash continues,” Retter said. “We will exercise all available resources to ensure this crash is investigated to the extent possible.”
Wayne County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police also were assisted on scene by Cambridge City Police Department, Hagerstown Police Department, Milton Police Department, Indiana Department of Transportation, Reid Health EMS and Trauma Unit, St. Vincent Stat Flight, and Wayne County Coroner’s Office.
Those involved in Indiana State Police’s preliminary investigation include Trooper Ray Otter and Crash Reconstruction Investigators Sgt. Danielle Elwood-Henderson, Master Trooper Coley McCutcheon and Trooper Mark Hanna.
I-70 eastbound was reopened about 5 a.m. Friday.
Traffic was congested along U.S. 40 on Thursday evening throughout nearby communities including Dublin and Cambridge City as vehicles were routed off the interstate.

Share this: