ELLSWORTH, Kan. -- Two Aurora grandparents were driving their three grandchildren across Kansas earlier this week when they collided with a parked semi-truck, instantly killing them and two of the three children in the vehicle.
The wreck occurred on Tuesday morning as the family was travelling through Kansas near the town of Ellsworth on I-70. Investigators say 54-year-old Kevin Dorrell was in the vehicle along with his wife, 51-year-old Debra Dorrell, and three grandchildren, Justin Turner, 15, Joe Turner, 11, and Jonah Turner, 9.
Kevin, Debra, Justin and Joe were instantly killed when the family's Cadillac Escalade slammed into the back of a parked semi-truck. Jonah was the only survivor, and was still recovering at a hospital near Wichita, Kan. Thursday morning.
A Kansas highway patrol spokesperson said a good samaritan drove up to the scene of the crash and pulled Jonah out of the wreck to safety, saving his life.
Troopers also said the extensive damage to the SUV prevented emergency responders from immediately determining the ages and genders of those who died in the crash. None of the four victims were wearing seat belts.
It was still unclear how the driver lost control of the Escalade Thursday. But neighbors who knew the family were sure of one thing: This is a tragic loss.
"They were always waving, saying hi," the family's neighbor Rob Varner said. "The kids were always out front, running around. I left my front door open last week to get a breeze, and Kevin walked in to make sure we were safe and no one was breaking in.
"Just good people. This is hard."