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Indiana fiery crash kills 4 kids and injures father as semi-trailer driver mows down car while high on drugs

First responders at the 'tough' scene needed stress management and mental aid to recover from the incident
UPDATED JUL 11, 2020
Corey Withrow (Wayne County Jail)
Corey Withrow (Wayne County Jail)

CAMBRIDGE CITY, INDIANA: Four siblings were killed and their father critically injured, after the car they were traveling in was struck by a semi-tractor-trailer truck driven by a man under the influence of drugs. The Indiana State Police said Anesa Noel Acosta, 15, Quintin Michael McGowan, 13, Brekkin Riley Bruce, 8, and Trentin Beau Bruce, 6, died after their Chevrolet Malibu met with an accident on Interstate 70 on Thursday, July 9.

A passerby who witnessed the crash managed to pull the siblings' father, Aaron Bruce, 34, of Kansas City, Missouri, out of the burning vehicle. A medical helicopter flew him to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, where he remains in critical condition in the burn unit. The Richmond Palladium-Item reported that none of the children were able to escape the car and that firefighters from Cambridge City, Greens Fork, and Hagerstown who responded to extinguish the fire received mental aid.

Members from the Eastern Indiana Critical Incident Stress Management Team, which is based at Rush Memorial Hospital, were called to the scene of the accident to help first responders with their emotions in the aftermath of the tragedy. "It was a tough scene. It was very tough," Sgt. John Bowling of the Indiana State Police said. "It can be emotionally draining on first responders when you're on a scene as trying as that one. Any loss of life is tragic, but it's especially hard when it's children."

The driver of the semi-tractor trailer, a 2004 Kenworth truck, was identified as 31-year-old Corey Withrow. An investigation by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office indicated that drugs were a contributing factor in the accident. Officials said the accident occurred as Withrow was eastbound pulling a loaded box trailer in the right lane. As he was making the pull, he came upon traffic that had been slowed but moving as it merged left because of a construction zone forcing vehicles into one lane. He failed to slow his truck and bodied the children's Chevrolet at speed.

This collision pushed the Chevrolet into the left rear corner of another semi pulling tandem trailers that also was slowed to merge. The second of the tandem trailers was ripped off its axle even as the Kenworth continued to push the Chevrolet through the left lane and into the median, where both the vehicles caught fire. "Investigators were able to review data as well as other evidence indicating traffic was flowing freely at the time of the crash and were able to rule out any back-up or stopped traffic contributing to the crash," Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter said. "Officers investigating the crash suspected Withrow was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash. Preliminary toxicology reports indicated that Withrow had multiple drugs in his system."

Withrow, of Camden, Ohio, has been charged with four counts of Level 4 felony reckless homicide, four counts of Level 4 felony operating while intoxicated causing death, and one Level 5 felony count of operating while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury.

He was treated at Reid Health for non-life-threatening injuries after the accident before he was booked at the Wayne County Jail.