One killed in massive I-70 pileup near Oak Grove. Driver describes scary experience

Debris scattered across I-70 near Concordia after multi-vehicle pile-up

At least 20 vehicles were involved in a pile-up on Interstate 70 near Concordia after a winter storm made road conditions dangerous on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2019.
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At least 20 vehicles were involved in a pile-up on Interstate 70 near Concordia after a winter storm made road conditions dangerous on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2019.

An investigation is still ongoing of a chain-reaction crash that involved dozens of cars Friday and killed one person on an icy roadway near Oak Grove, southeast of Kansas City.

The crash occurred at about 11:30 a.m. Friday on I-70 westbound at the 29 mile marker, just east of Oak Grove in Jackson County.

Original reports said least 15 vehicles were in that specific pileup and a total of 47 vehicles were run off the road or damaged, according Sgt. Collin Stosberg, a Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman.

A preliminary report released by the highway patrol Saturday evening said 11 vehicles were damaged and three people were injured. In addition, Linda Henderson was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the report, the crash occurred as a 2012 Peterbilt tractor-trailer, driven by 44-year-old Marlon C. Davis of Washington Park, Ill., lost control on the snow-covered interstate. It traveled off the left side of the road and was still partially blocking the road when it came to a stop.

Soon after, a 2016 Ford Escape, driven by James Henderson — Linda Henderson’s husband — struck the truck’s rear trailer, the report said.

It caused a chain reaction as one vehicle after another hit one another. James Henderson sustained critical injuries and was taken to a hospital, where he remains.

Wintry weather that hit quickly, covering the roadway with ice and snow, definitely was a factor in the crash, Stosberg said Saturday.

He said a few vehicles initially collided, so the roadway was blocked. Then other vehicles coming down a gentle hill were going too quickly for the conditions and also ended up in the pileup.

One truck driver who experienced the collision described the terrifying experience.

In an interview at the scene with KSNT TV, truck driver Jamon Weaver said he and his girlfriend were driving from Kentucky to Las Vegas when they ended up in the collision.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Weaver told the television station. “I felt like I was in ‘Final Destination.’”

He said he watched “so many cars piling up, piling up, piling up, boom boom.”

Dante Jones, a KCTV5 producer, posted Weaver’s video on Twitter, where it has had more than 5.5 million views and 71,000 retweets as of Saturday afternoon.

He said he thought he might die and was thankful he was in a large truck.

“I have never been in an event or a circumstance like this in my life. I never thought I’d actually be in something like this,” he said.

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Lynn Horsley reports on Johnson County for the Kansas City Star, focusing on government, politics, business development and battles over growth and change in the county. She previously covered City Hall in Kansas City for 19 years and has a passion for helping readers understand how government affects their lives.