Independence woman in mental crisis runs onto I-70 and is killed, mother says

Tabetha L. Estep
Tabetha L. Estep

A 23-year-old Independence woman was struck by a car and killed Sunday on Interstate 70 when she was highly distressed and ran into traffic, her mother said.

Tabetha L. Estep was fatally injured about 2:30 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-70 just east of Little Blue Parkway, the Independence Police Department said in a written statement Monday.

Earlier, Estep had been brought to nearby Centerpoint Medical Center in a state of mental crisis and was released into the care of her mother, Jacquelyn Estep, the mother said Monday.

Her mother drove her to the Corner Cafe beside Children's Mercy East hospital at 20300 E. Valley View Parkway, on the other side of I-70. There, Tabetha was still distressed and walked away across the parking lot as her mother vainly tried to coax her back into the car.

"I pulled over in the parking lot. I tried to get her in the car," the mother said. "She took off running, and I ran after her. She got really far ahead. I couldn’t catch up with her before she got to the highway and looked back and started to take off and got hit by a car."

Tabetha was struck by a 2014 Dodge Dart and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. No one in the vehicle was injured.

Minutes earlier, Independence police had been called to the scene to assist in what was described as a verbal disturbance. After the wreck, they shut down eastbound I-70 until about 4 p.m.

Estep's death is being investigated by the Police Department's Criminal Investigations Unit.