Updated: 6:15 p.m. | Posted: 11:34 a.m.
Authorities have arrested the driver of a semitrailer that was involved in a fiery crash that killed a Minnesota family of five in western Nebraska.
Jamison Pals, his wife Kathryne and their three children — 3-year-old Ezra, 23-month-old Violet and 2-month-old Calvin — all died in the crash, according to the Nebraska State Patrol. The couple was from Minneapolis, authorities said.
Karen Pals, a sister-in-law from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, said they were traveling to Littleton, Colorado, for a month as training as missionaries. They planned to move this fall to Japan, where they expected to remain for years.
"This was going to be a permanent thing," Pals said. "They were very committed to their work."
Jamison Pals' father, Rick Pals of Hugo, Minnesota, said the couple would have been affiliated with Christ Bible Institute in Nagoya, Japan.
"Jamison and Kathryne ... they had a heart for people," Rick Pals said. "They loved what they were doing."
Jamison worked as a grant writer for Feed My Starving Children for just over three years, according to a statement from the organization.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the Pals family," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those whose lives were touched by Jamison, Kathryne and their sweet children."
Feed My Starving Children vice president Andy Carr said in an interview with reporters Monday afternoon that Jamison Pals "took his role as a husband seriously in the way that he cared for his wife Kathryne, and he took his job as a father seriously in the way that he spent time with his children."
The Nebraska State Patrol says the truck and several vehicles were involved in the collision that happened around 11:30 a.m. mountain time Sunday in a construction zone near Brule, Neb. The patrol says the pileup began when the truck struck the Pals' van on westbound Interstate 80. Three more vehicles soon were involved.
Six people in the other vehicles were taken to an Ogallala hospital and three of them later were flown to Colorado hospitals.
The driver was arrested for suspicion of vehicular homicide. Court records don't show whether he's been formally charged. He was treated at a hospital in Julesburg, Colorado.