Kansas City police on Tuesday released the preliminary report from a traffic crash last month that killed five people — including three small children.
The Dec. 27 crash on Interstate 435 occurred when an 18-wheel tractor trailer truck slammed into the rear of a Mazda passenger car that was stopped or “nearly stopped” in a traffic lane, according to the report.
The truck driver did not brake or attempt evasive action, according to the report.
The report does not address whether police have determined why the car, driven by 24-year-old Shante Hopkins, stopped on the interstate. A full report, including a reconstruction of the accident, has not been completed. Police previously said that they were attempting to determine whether the car ran out of gas or had some type of mechanical problem.
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The truck driver, a 56-year Minnesota man, had a “straight line-of-sight” to the car and “neither adjusted his speed nor altered his course in order to avoid the collision,” the report noted.
The driver did not appear impaired, and he tested negative on a preliminary breath test for alcohol, according to the report. The police department’s commercial motor vehicle investigation section inspected and released the truck.
One witness told police that the Mazda was traveling at an “extremely slow speed, nearly stopped” before being rear-ended. Another driver told police of swerving to avoid the Mazda.
Hopkins was driving with a revoked or suspended license, the report noted.
A spokesman for the Minnesota-based trucking company said Tuesday that, because the investigation is ongoing, he could not comment.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the company operates 50 trucks that traveled a combined 4,800,000 miles in 2013. Its trucks have been involved in two injury crashes but no other fatality wrecks during the past two years, according to department records.
Safety violations against the company’s trucks and drivers have been considerably below the national average, those records also show.
Hopkins, a former Kansas City resident living in Warrensburg, Mo., was driving south on Interstate 435 when the crash occurred just north of the exit for Eastwood Trafficway.
Besides Hopkins, those killed were a friend, 17-year-old Dominique Johnson of Kansas City, and Hopkins’ children, who all were younger than 3.