BRISTOL, Ind. (WWJ/AP) – A tractor-trailer slammed into the back of a packed minivan just south of the Michigan-Indiana state line late Thursday, killing at least seven people and sending four others to the hospital.

AP Reporter Erin Gartner has been talking with State Police, who say witness accounts suggest a minivan slowed or stopped in the eastbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road near Bristol before it was hit from behind by a semi-truck.

“Initial reports coming in to police suggest that the minivan may have stopped after hitting a deer along the roadway,” said Gartner, “and that’s when it was hit from behind by the tractor-truck.”

Gartner said part of the highway was shut down for much of the night as police were investigating.

“Indiana State Police say at least seven people were killed… but aren’t releasing any details about the victims just yet. The only thing we do know is that the minivan was carrying 10 people and the seven people who were killed were in the minivan,” she said.

Three other people in the van and the truck driver were all airlifted to a local hospital. The conditions of those who survived haven’t been released.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Trent Smith said early Friday that the minivan had an Illinois license plate, and the truck had a Wisconsin tag. It is not clear at this time if any of those involved were from Michigan.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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