Boy, 9, injured in fiery I-70 crash remains critical

The 9-year-old Colorado boy who was injured in a crash that killed four people on I-70 in north-central Kansas earlier this week remained in critical condition Thursday at Wesley Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The boy was the sole survivor of an accident that occurred eight miles north of Ellsworth at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Killed in the accident were his grandparents, Kevin J. Dorrell, 54, and Debra M. Dorrell, 51; and his brothers, Justin Turner, 15, and Joe Turner, 11.

All were from Aurora, Colo. The Dorrells were also the children’s legal guardians, Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner said. The children’s mother lives in Colorado, he added.

The family was traveling from Aurora to Mississippi when its eastbound 2003 Cadillac Escalade slammed into the rear of a disabled semi-trailer truck that was disabled because of mechanical problems and parked on the shoulder of the highway, Gardner said.

An Ellsworth man pulled the 9-year-old boy from the burning wreckage.

Extensive damage to the SUV prevented emergency responders from immediately determining the ages and genders of those who died in the crash, Gardner said.

Gardner said investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash, including looking at information from the vehicle’s “black box.”

“It could be fatigue,” he said of the 5 ½-hour journey from Aurora to the crash site. “It could have been a medical condition, mechanical failure. We just don’t know right now.”

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