October 14th, 2011
12:30 AM ET

Van rams into trailer, killing 5 children and their foster father

Five children under 17 and their foster father were killed when their van slammed into the back of a stationary tractor trailer in eastern Colorado

The foster father - Howard Mitchell, 57 - was driving the children to school when the van crashed Thursday south of Kit Carson, Colorado, CNN affiliate KMGH reported.

The Dodge with 12 occupants was in a construction zone with reduced speed limits when it rammed into the back of a stationary empty cattle trailer, the Colorado State Patrol said.

Six other children were taken to area hospitals, including a 14-year-old who was the only one wearing a seat belt, authorities said.

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Filed under: Colorado • U.S.
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. pat

    just thinkin was there only one set of seat belts in van & how much of a storie it would be if the truck had hit the van .who was most likely going to fast & tailgating the cattle truck whos driver now has a nightmare to think of the rest of his life just sad that young people lost so much for so little time that is.

    October 14, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Yvette bonnin

    Previous commenter is assuming speed was a factor in this horrific deadlly accident. Consider this~how many children restrained? 1.....how many unrestrained noisey, fighting,screaming children? Under 17? 12! Distraction comes to mind ,at the wrong time. One of the children was probably screaming or crying loudly and with enough true pain maybe as to make this foster father turn his head,to the right to see instintively, alarmed ,not thinking but only to protect,at the wrong time. Trailer was parked, side of road right side im sure. Father turned his head around,to the right,what happens????? Steering wheel turns right to,therefore hitting the trailer causing the death of these poor babes.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. leeintulsa

    How many kids can you pack in a van? I'm hoping it was a bigger, daycare-like van..

    October 14, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    I'm with you, leeintulsa...
    It had to be one of those giganto vans...
    We'll have to wait for more details, because no matter how one tries to spin it, the foster father was in a construction zone, the cattle trailer was standing still, and the kids weren't wearing seatbelts...

    How many kids are people allowed to foster in Colorado, anyway?

    October 14, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cinguymon

    WOW! Is this all about judging! ! ! ! It is devastating for sure, poor truck driver, how about Howards wife, how about the surviving kids? They were allowed to foster 11-12 children and the van was a 15 seater. If you knew this family and the children, you would not make stupid remarks about screaming, out of control children............not happening here! I hope you all are perfect and never make a blink of an eye mistake like this poor man did. He loved every one of those children. Yes, they should have been wearing belts but it would not have made a difference for some of them. There is only one person who judges so for the remaining family members and children ( who by the way, loved Mr. Mitchell) back off with your condemnation for what he might have done wrong!

    October 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • EHSMOM

      well put some people just do not think before they post! This was an amazing family bless their hearts! Everyone who knew them loved them ALL!

      October 16, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. community member

    For those of you who did not know this family, you should not be commenting unless it is in condolence of this mourning family. Please dont judge or make assumptions when you DONT know what happened. There are many factors that could have played into this accident, but none of them are important now. For those of us who did know the family, they were amazing people and we are blessed to have had the opportunity to have them in our community. For the surviving children, we pray for a full recovery. Full support for this torn family would be greatly appreciated. Thoughts and prayers are with you all!

    October 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |