Buffalo County manslaughter suspect arrested in California

Published: Sep. 20, 2019 at 3:31 PM CDT
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The trucker suspected in a triple fatality accident last month near Gibbon is in jail in California.

Kenneth Kratt, 34, Madero, California, is charged with three counts of felony manslaughter in Buffalo County.

A judge issued a warrant for his arrest last week and late Friday Kratt was booked into the Madero County jail in California. Extradition is pending. If convicted on the manslaughter charges, Kratt could get up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Court records show that investigators determined Kratt was driving a semi-trailer at high-speed through a construction zone. Traffic ahead of him had slowed down or stopped because of the construction back-up.

Investigators say Kratt was driving 75 miles-an-hour through a zone marked for 65-miles an hour.

His truck struck two vehicles from behind, starting a chain reaction that involved four other vehicles and which killed three people.

The crash occurred at approximately 3 p.m. September 20, near Gibbon, at mile marker 284 on I-80. The state patrol said traffic had slowed as it was entering a construction zone on eastbound I-80.

The first vehicle struck by the semi was a Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Ryan Vanicek, 37, of Schuyler, with passenger Daniel Seelhoff, 50, of Lincoln. Seelhoff was pronounced dead at the scene. Vanicek was life-flighted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, where he was later pronounced dead.

The driver of another vehicle, a Chevrolet Equinox, was also killed in the crash. Scott Gaylord, 54, of Lincoln, was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, where he was pronounced dead. Three other people sustained injuries in the crash, but none were considered life threatening.

Kratt was not seriously injured in the crash.

Interstate 80 was closed to eastbound traffic for approximately seven hours. Westbound lanes were closed for approximately one hour.

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