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Driver of truck that killed MN family of 5 on road trip now headed to trial

He's charged with six counts of vehicular homicide.

It's been more than a year since the Pals family of Minnesota was killed in a devastating crash on a road trip through Nebraska.

And now, the driver of the semi truck that rear-ended their minivan has a trial date.

Tony Weekly, a 54-year-old trucker from Baker, Florida, is charged with vehicular homicide in the deaths of Jamison Pals and his wife Kathryne Pals, who were both 29, and the couple's three children: 3-year-old Ezra, 23-month-old Violet and 2-month-old Calvin.

He is also charged with the death of 56-year-old Terry Sullivan, a Colorado resident whose minivan was struck by the Pals' vehicle after the initial collision. He was hospitalized and succumbed to his injuries a couple of days after the crash. 

According to the Nebraska State Patrol, the accident happened on July 31 in a construction zone near the town of Brule. Traffic had slowed in the area, but authorities say Weekly's rig struck the Pals' minivan with such force that the three vehicles ahead of it were also hit.

The minivan and the semi both burst into flames. Weekly was treated at a hospital, released, and taken into custody. A trooper wrote in an arrest affidavit that Weekly was "inattentive and distracted by outside influences" at the time of the crash. 

His trial has been set for 9 a.m., Dec. 12, in Nebraska's Keith County District Court, the North Platte Telegraph reports

The reason the legal process is taking so long, the paper says, is that Weekly waived his right to a speedy trial because he lives in Florida. 

More about the Pals family

At the time of the crash, the St. Paul family were on their way to missionary training with WorldVenture, with plans to move to Japan in October 2016, a family member told the Omaha World Herald.

Following their deaths, the Jamison and Kathryne Pals Foundation was established to help carry on their Christian missionary work. 

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