Loophole let teen drive semi in crash

JORDAN, Minn. (AP) – A 17-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a semi pulling a box trailer converted into a recreational vehicle when the 57,000-pound rig crashed through a guardrail and into a Kansas ravine, killing five of the 18 people on board.

Adam Kerber’s driver’s license wouldn’t have allowed him to drive a commercial vehicle like that because of its weight and because it was carrying more than 15 people. But neither of the restrictions applied because of a loophole in Minnesota state law regarding private RVs.

The thirteen injured in the crash including Kerber, who was still in critical condition Monday. All those injured or killed were friends or members of the Kerber family.

The crash happened about 9 a.m. Sunday as the family returned from an annual motocross vacation in Texas. Their Freightliner cab and Haulmark trailer broke through a guardrail on Interstate 35 in Kansas and plunged into a ravine. Kerber and another teen were the only people wearing seatbelts.

A neighbor familiar with the trailer said he didn’t believe it even had seatbelts, which aren’t required in Minnesota other than in a vehicle’s front seat.