One person killed, others injured in fiery wrecks on I-70 in eastern Kansas City

One person was killed and others were injured Sunday in two fiery crashes on Interstate 70 near Interstate 435 in eastern Kansas City, according to police.

The wrecks closed lanes of I-70 near the Truman Sports Complex, snarling afternoon traffic near the stadiums. One of the crashes involved two semi-tractor trailers.

The first crash was reported about 11:10 a.m. on westbound I-70 at I-435. The two-vehicle wreck closed the two lanes of traffic.

It happened when a broken down Honda van was on the right shoulder of I-70, awaiting a tow, according to police. A semi-truck pulling a trailer loaded with construction equipment left the road and struck the Honda.

The semi lost controlled and overturned, causing the equipment to land on its side and burst into flames, according to Kansas City Police Department Capt. Tim Hernandez. The semi’s cab also caught fire.

The driver of the Honda and the semi were taken to a hospital with critical injuries, police said.

The second wreck was reported shortly after noon on eastbound I-70 at the Blue Ridge Cutoff and involved two semi trucks. A police sergeant responding to the first crash came across the immediate aftermath of the second collision in the back-up of traffic.

Hernandez said the driver of a silver truck apparently did not realize the vehicles in front of him were stopped or barely moving. The truck rear-ended a white Volvo semi-truck, which caught fire.

The driver of the silver semi was partially ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene, according to police.

Traffic along I-70 was shut down in both directions for a time while emergency crews investigated the crashes.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.
Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.