The death toll has risen by four since the fiery crash was first reported, but KSP Trooper Charles Swiney said two children survived the crash.
Dispatcher Kathy Tyree said the collision occurred at 5:16 a.m. CDT in Hart County near mile marker 63, which is near Munfordville, Kentucky.
Emergency Management Director Kerry McDaniel said the tractor-trailer was going south on I-65 when it crossed the median, striking the van head-on. The van was carrying men, women and children. A pastor at a southern Kentucky church said many of the victims were from a Kentucky-based Mennonite family.
After crashing into the van, the semi hit a rock wall and burst into flames. McDaniel said the truck driver was killed.
Kentucky State Police, Hart County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky Safe Patrol, Hart County Emergency Management Services, Munfordville Fire Department and the Hart County Coroners Office were all on the scene.
Northbound lanes of I-65 have been shut down, and a detour has been established.
According to a KSP press release, traffic is being diverted off of I-65 at exit 58 onto KY218. Traffic will then be diverted onto US31 east and then head north. Traffic will remain on KY61 until the intersection with I-65 at exit 91.
KSP said the interstate will be close for at least eight hours. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has been advising motorists to seek an alternate route north of Kentucky and plan for delays until the crash has been cleared.
I-65 southbound lanes have been affected by rubbernecking.