The Indian community in Kansas City is coming together to mourn the deaths of six people from two local families in a traffic crash late Friday in northeast Oklahoma.
A prayer vigil was planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Kansas City, 6330 Lackman Road in Shawnee.
Seven members of the families, including three children, were traveling south in a minivan on U.S. 69 in Mayes County at 11:37 p.m. when the driver apparently lost control on a wet road. The minivan crossed the median and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer traveling north.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol previously identified three adults killed in the crash as 32-year-old Bhaskar Jha, 31-year-old Annu Jha and 34-year-old Agni Pal Singh.
Venkat Manda, who described himself as a spokesman for the Indian community in Kansas City, said Tuesday the Jhas were married with two children, a 1-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy. They were all killed.
Singh was traveling with his wife, Sanchita Singh. She also died, but their 8-month-old baby survived and is in a hospital.
The Highway Patrol said everyone was using a seat belt or a child restraint.
“It is a story that wrenches the heart and really badly,” Manda posted on Facebook. “Young families, very young children.”
Manda said Bhaskar Jha and Agni Pal Singh were software engineers for the Cognizant technology company working on contract for State Street Corp. in Lee’s Summit.
Bhaskar Jha was from Bihar state in India. Family members in India were working this week to have the bodies returned to that country and to make arrangements for the surviving child.