Police: Five family members, including 3 kids, killed in Independence crash

INDEPENDENCE, Ky. -- Five family members, including three children, are dead after a crash Thursday afternoon in Independence, according to Independence Fire District Chief Scott Breeze and officials from the Grant County School District.

The five people who died were all members of the Pollitt family of Grant County, police said Friday. Rodney Pollitt Jr., 26, of Independence, was driving; Samantha Malohn, 27, of Dry Ridge, was in the passenger's seat. Hailieann, Brenden and Callie Pollitt -- ages 9, 8 and 6, respectively -- were in the back seat.

The three children who died were students in the Grant County school district, school officials said. Grief counselors were at the schools Friday.

"This is a difficult subject for us to share with such young students, but one we cannot avoid," school officials wrote in a letter to parents.

"We're all heartbroken," Grant County schools spokesperson Nancy Howe said. 

Police said Daniel Greis, 57, was driving a 2014 Honda Pilot westbound on Staffordsburg Road when he went left of center at about 4:53 p.m. and hit the Pollitts' Honda Accord.

Thursday night, Breeze said Greis was taken to a nearby hospital, but his injuries weren't serious.

Police spent about six hours at the crash scene and shut down the road for their initial investigation. The road reopened after 3 a.m. Friday.

Kenton County police are still investigating the cause of the crash.

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The father of Malohn and grandfather of the children works at Wolf Steel USA. Rodney Pollitt also worked there a few years ago.

"I think everybody was shocked," Wolf Steel employee Beth Wartman said. "It's a very small community."

Wartman recalled Rodney Pollitt as a "family-first" man. 

"He was very involved with his children, and ... he enjoyed being a parent very much, and that's what people remember about him most is, family first and his kids," she said.

Wolf Steel USA is accepting any help to go toward funeral expenses. There's currently no word on when that will be held.

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