An Illinois truck driver was charged with four counts of vehicular homicide Monday for his role in a fatal traffic pileup on Interstate 80 in western Nebraska early Sunday.
Josef Slezak, 25, also was charged with four counts of manslaughter, said Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub. Slezak was being held late Monday on $1 million bail.
A succession of crashes that killed five people began about 4:30 a.m. just east of Potter outside Sidney.
Keith Johnson, 27, of Big Lake, Minn., was killed when his semitrailer truck slammed into the back of another semi that was stopped in a westbound lane of I-80, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.
Vladimir Zhukov, 66, of Oak Park, Ill., had stopped because of mechanical problems, the patrol said. Zhukov was uninjured.
Traffic backed up as troopers investigated the crash, and a second fatal crash occurred.
According to Schaub, Slezak was driving a semi that crashed into a 2010 Ford Mustang that then struck a 2007 Toyota Corolla. The Toyota was pushed under another truck.
The drivers of the Toyota and Mustang died. Two juvenile passengers also were killed. No further details were released.
Schaub had not released the victims' names Monday. He said autopsies were scheduled for today.
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