Five people, including three children, died Sunday near Bridgeport, Nebraska, when an SUV lost control in heavy rain and was hit from behind by a semitrailer truck.

The crash in the Panhandle occurred on Highway 385, north of Bridgeport, which is about 35 miles southeast of Scottsbluff.

About 6 p.m. Sunday, during a period of heavy rain, a 2015 Ford Expedition that was northbound near the junction of Highway 385 and L62A lost control, hydroplaned and spun into the southbound lane of Highway 385, the Nebraska State Patrol said.

A southbound semi struck the SUV in the rear, killing all five occupants.

They were:

  • Amy Rednest, 30, of Alliance. Rednest was the driver.
  • Vanessa Gomez, 31, of Westminster, Colorado.
  • Nevaeh Montoya, 14, of Westminster, Colorado.
  • Emma Reza, 13, of Alliance.
  • Falicia Reza, 9, of Alliance

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The driver and passengers were all wearing seat belts. Responding agencies included the Nebraska State Patrol, the Morrill County Sheriff’s Office and Bridgeport Fire and Rescue.

The truck driver, Brian Schmer, 61, of Hudson, Colorado, was taken to Morrill County Community Hospital in Bridgeport with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Troy Unzicker, superintendent of the Alliance Public Schools, said he believed that Emma Reza was about to start eighth grade and that Falicia Reza would have been a fourth-grader. The first day of school for Alliance students is Thursday.

“It’s going to reach all the way through our buildings,” he said. “It’s a tragedy.”

The crash remains under investigation.

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Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

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