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Plea bargain expected in Buffalo County triple fatality

Sept 2019 crash killed three people on I-80
Kenneth Kratt is expected to make a plea bargain on manslaughter charges.
Kenneth Kratt is expected to make a plea bargain on manslaughter charges.(Madera County, CA, Dept. of Corrections)
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 9:19 AM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - A plea bargain is expected in the case of a California man charged with three traffic deaths from a September 2019 crash on Interstate 80 near Gibbon.

Kenneth Kratt, 36, from Madera, California, was charged with three counts of felony manslaughter in Buffalo County. He had been scheduled for trial Monday in Buffalo County District Court, but last month his attorney notified the court that Kratt expected to enter a plea as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors. A hearing on that plea bargain is scheduled Tuesday morning.

The crash happened September 20, 2019, on Interstate 80 about one mile west of the Gibbon exit. Investigators said Kratt was driving 75 miles-an-hour through a construction zone marked for 65-miles an hour. Traffic ahead of him had slowed down or stopped because of the construction back-up. Kratt’s truck struck two vehicles from behind, starting a chain reaction that involved four other vehicles and which killed three people.

The victims were Ryan Vanicek, 37, of Schuyler, and his passenger, Daniel Seelhoff, 50, of Lincoln. Scott Gaylord, 54, of Lincoln was in a separate vehicle and was also killed.

Kratt was not seriously injured.

If Kratt is convicted of all three crimes, he could get up to 60 years in prison.

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