A Kansas City, Kan., man was fleeing from one traffic crash when his car collided head-on with another car, killing two women and himself, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Family and friends of one of the two women killed in Thursday night’s crash in Edwardsville said Sarah A. Galutia was helping troubled people rebuild shattered lives.
“She was an awesome caregiver,” said Marie McCowan, who hired Galutia about two years ago to take care of mostly senior citizens in their homes for Griswold Home Care in Overland Park. “She had an amazing laugh and a smile. You were always just happy to see her come through the door.”
The Kansas Highway Patrol said Galutia, 29, was driving east on Kansas 32 at Interstate 435, when a car being driven west by Aaron A. Ashlock, 42, of Kansas City, Kan., crossed the center line and hit her car head-on.
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Galutia and Ashlock were killed in the crash that occurred just before 9 p.m. Thursday.
Galutia’s roommate, 33-year-old Ashley D. Gonzalez, who was a passenger in the car, was also killed.
Gonzalez’s two daughters, 11 and 12, also were passengers in Galutia’s car. Both were injured and taken to a hospital. Their conditions were not available Friday morning.
McCowan said Galutia and Gonzalez shared a room at an Oxford House in Kansas City, Kan., where Galutia, a single mother of two boys, was a house manager in the evenings helping to counsel people living there who were struggling to rebuild broken lives.
Through tears, McCowan said that on Thursday night Galutia had picked up Gonzalez from work and Gonzalez’s children. Thursday night, McCowan said, was treat night and the four were heading to get ice cream when the collision occurred.
“The man who hit her took away a very important person to a lot of people,” said McCowan, who spent Friday contacting Galutia’s clients at Griswold to let them know about the wreck.
McCowan said Galutia, a graduate of Neosho County Community College, told her before leaving work on Thursday that she had planned to take her sons, Ryan, 7, and Jase, 3, to the movies on Friday.
The boys live in Ottawa with Galutia’s mother, Brenda Galutia.
“Sarah’s life was all about those little boys,” Galutia’s mother said. “She was working and loving her family and her life was cut short. I am just at a loss for words.”
According to the highway patrol, neither woman was wearing a seat belt. Gonzalez’s daughters were, according to the highway patrol.
It was not known if Ashlock was wearing a seat belt, according to the patrol reports.
The patrol said that just before the fatal crash, Ashlock drove away from another crash on K-32. There were no serious injuries reported in that wreck, which occurred about one-quarter of a mile from the scene of the fatal crash.
But members of his family on Friday said they hadn’t gotten all the details of what might have caused Ashlock to cross the center lane into oncoming traffic.
“We don’t know if he hit someone or if someone hit him, in that other wreck, or was he being chased, to make him do that, we just don’t know,” said Connie Wittkopp, Ashlock’s paternal aunt. “He was just not the kind of person to do that sort of thing - leave the scene,” Wittkopp said. “Aaron was a very caring man. The kind who would never meet a stranger. Good people.”
She said her nephew had two grown sons and had recently become a grandfather. He lived with his dad James P. Ashlock, Jr. and had worked in construction all his life. He had just gotten a new job, Wittkopp said. “He did get a chance to start it.”