(Photo by Keith Myers of The Kansas City Star via The Associated Press)
Bonner Springs, Kansas-
The crash occurred about ten miles west of Kansas City, Kansas, on Tuesday July 11th 2017 at approximately 2:30p.m., in the westbound lanes of I-70, approximately two miles east of a construction zone at the Kansas Turnpike’s Eastern Terminal. The crash closed the highway in both directions for about two hours, according to reports.
Kansas Turnpike Authority officials on Wednesday released details of the fatal crash that resulted in five lives being lossed. Listed in the turnpike’s online accident report were the names of the fatality victims: Sheldon Cohen, 83, and his wife, Virginia Cohen, 79, of Topeka; Ricardo Mireles, 38, also of Topeka; Teresa J. Butler, 61, of Urbana, Ill.; and Karen Lynn Kennedy, a 63-year-old female passenger in Butler’s vehicle.
The crash occurred at 2:23 p.m. Tuesday in the westbound lanes of the turnpike, as traffic had slowed for a construction zone near the eastern terminal of the Kansas Turnpike, about two miles west of the collision scene. According to the turnpike’s accident report, vehicles were slowing and preparing to stop in the outside, or right lane, of the roadway.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said that an Indian Creek Express semi-trailer that was westbound in the outside lane crested a slight hill when, for an unknown reason, the driver was late in recognizing that traffic ahead of it, had slowed. According to the report, the semi-tractor trailer caused the crash and brake marks from the Indian Creek Express vehicle’s passenger side could be seen just before the vehicle struck a 2015 GMC Terrain. The brake marks could be seen trailing toward the inside, or left lane, according to the turnpike’s report.
Upon impact, the GMC was forced toward the inside wall and rotated counter-clockwise. The Indian Creek Express vehicle then continued traveling through the area of first impact, where it struck a 2012 Buick LaCrosse that had been in front of the GMC. The Buick was forced to the northwest and into a guardrail. The impact forced the Buick to rotate approximately 180 degrees clockwise. It came to rest in the northern, grassy ditch facing south.
After striking the Buick, the Indian Creek Express vehicle kept its momentum and struck a Ford Taurus, which was forced under the rear of the USXpress semi-trailer. The truck portion of the Indian Creek Express vehicle then struck the rear of the USXpress semi-trailer. The USXpress semi then struck the rear of the Chevrolet Avalanche, which was stopped.
A fire then ignited between the Indian Creek Express semi-trailer, the Ford Taurus and the USXpress semi-trailer. The turnpike authority identified the drivers and occupants of the vehicles as follows. The vehicles are listed according to their placement, from back to front, in the crash, according to the turnpike’s accident report:
— Indian Creek Express commercial motor vehicle, a 2015 Freightliner semi-trailer: driver Kenny Brezettee Ford, 56, of Houston. The report said Ford was wearing a seat belt and that he was possibly injured.
— 2015 GMC Terrain: Teresa J. Butler, 61, of Urbana, Ill. The report said it was unknown if Butler, who died in the crash, was wearing a seat belt. Karen Lynn Kennedy, a 63-year-old passenger in the GMC, also was killed in the crash. It didn’t indicate whether she was wearing a seat belt.
— 2012 Buick LaCrosse: driver Sheldon H. Cohen, 83, of Topeka. Passenger: Virginia Cohen, 79, of Topeka. Both of the Cohens died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash. It wasn’t known if either of the Cohens was wearing a seat belt.
— 2005 Ford Taurus: driver Ricardo Mireles, 38, of Topeka, who died as a result of injuries he suffered in the crash. The patrol said it wasn’t known if Mireles was wearing a seat belt.
— USXpress commercial motor vehicle, a 2016 Freightliner semi-trailer: Carleton Andrew McMahan, 53, of Asheville, N.C. The report said McMahan was wearing a seat belt and that he wasn’t injured.
— 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche: driver Scott M. Shambaugh, 53, of Ashland City, Tenn. The report said Shambaugh wasn’t injured and indicated that he was wearing a seat belt.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire families of Sheldon and Virginia Cohen, Ricardo Mireles, Teresa Butler and Karen Lynn Kennedy. May God bless you and comfort you in the difficult time ahead.