Two killed, one arrested after crash in Clay County

The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a two-vehicle crash that claimed two lives and injured three others Wednesday afternoon in Clay County.

The crash occurred at approximately 4:15 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 9, on Highway 6 near the Adams/Clay County line. Preliminary investigation shows that a semi was westbound on Highway 6 when it failed to slow down for stopped westbound traffic that was waiting for a vehicle to turn at Road A. The semi then entered the eastbound lanes, lost control and struck an eastbound Buick Enclave. The Buick was occupied by one adult and four children.

The driver, identified as Nicole Pavelka, 30, and one of the children, Ryker Schlichtman, 8, were pronounced deceased at the scene. An 11-year-old and a 10-year-old have been transported to Children’s Hospital in Omaha with serious injuries. The fourth child, a 9-year-old, was transported to Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings also with serious injuries. All five are a family from Davenport.

The driver of the semi, Justin Zoerb, 21, of Hazard, Nebraska, was found to have an active arrest warrant out of Hitchcock County. He was arrested and has been lodged in Adams County Jail. NSP is conducting a full crash reconstruction. The crash remains under investigation.

NSP was assisted on scene by the Adams County and Clay County Sheriff’s Offices, the Adams and Clay County Attorney’s Offices, Hastings, Trumbull, Glenvil, and Adams County Rural Fire Departments, LoneTree Towing and the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

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