A mother and her four children on Wednesday were stopped at a red light on Nebraska Highway 370 when a dump truck struck their minivan, killing two of the children and injuring seven other people.
Stephen Young, 10, who was about to enter the fifth grade at Millard’s Reagan Elementary School, died at the scene of the crash, police said.
His sister, 16-year-old Abby Young, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. She would have been a junior at Millard West High School.
The four-vehicle crash occurred shortly after 9:45 a.m. near 192nd Street. The Young family’s 2016 Toyota minivan was stopped at a red light on eastbound 370 when it was hit from behind, according to the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office.
The van’s other occupants were Kristy Young, 37, and her sons Levi, 14, and Hunter, 12, also Millard Public Schools students.
The driver of the dump truck was identified by police as 37-year-old Jesse Knight of Papillion.
Knight and the surviving members of the Young family were taken in critical condition to Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. An update on their conditions and the cause of the crash were not available late Wednesday.
The crash involved two other vehicles, though authorities did not elaborate on how they were connected to the incident.
Three other people were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, authorities said.
Crisis teams will be available for students and staff at 8 a.m. Thursday at Reagan Elementary School and Millard West High School.
“This is a devastating loss for the Young family and our community,” Millard West Principal Greg Tiemann wrote in a message to parents. “Our hearts go out to them, especially their brother, incoming freshman Levi Young.”
Rebecca Kleeman, spokeswoman for Millard Public Schools, said in a statement that Stephen and Abby were a “vibrant part” of the Millard community and that the loss “is unfathomable.”
”We ask everyone (to) please keep the Young family in their thoughts and prayers,” Kleeman wrote.
Sarpy County Chief Deputy Greg London said it has been a “horrific year” for car crashes in the county.
In June, a fiery crash near 180th Street and Platteview Road killed four Gretna High School girls and injured a fifth.
Two men from out of state were killed in July in a crash on U.S. Highway 34 south of Offutt Air Force Base.
And in May, a 4-month-old from Scottsbluff died on Interstate 80 in Sarpy County.
“It just seems to me — without seeing any statistical research in front of me — it just seems like there have been a lot of fatality crashes this year,” London said.
Details on speed, seat-belt use and other factors in Wednesday’s crash had not been released late Wednesday.
The crash is being investigated by the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office, the Nebraska State Patrol and the South Metro Crash Response Team. The Gretna Fire Department also responded.