5 children killed after van rams into tractor-trailer

Story highlights

  • The adult was the children's foster father
  • Most of the children were not wearing seat belts, authorities say

Five children under 17 and their foster father were killed when their van slammed into the back of a stationary tractor-trailer in eastern Colorado

The foster father -- Howard Mitchell, 57 -- was driving the children to school when the van crashed Thursday south of Kit Carson, Colorado, CNN affiliate KMGH reported.

The Dodge with 12 occupants was in a construction zone with reduced speed limits when it rammed into the back of a stationary empty cattle trailer, the Colorado State Patrol said.

Six other children were taken to area hospitals, including a 14-year-old who was the only one wearing a seat belt, authorities said.

The 26-year-old driver of the truck was treated for minor injuries and released, KMGH said.

Mitchell was a Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office deputy, according to the affiliate.