PEABODY — Locals in this small town north of Wichita say most families own a police scanner. They know when something's gone wrong on U.S. 50, and they almost all know someone who has died or been hurt in an accident on the roadway.
Wednesday, the people of Peabody again had to come to grips with a highway tragedy: A six-car accident claimed five lives Tuesday night, a day after a similar collision left two dead at the same location. Since early May, nine people have died along the construction zone near the central Kansas community of 1,500 residents.
The two most recent accidents both involved a tractor-trailer hitting a passenger vehicle that had stopped or slowed near where the two-lane highway is restricted to one lane, according to accident reports from the Kansas Highway Patrol.
The latest crash happened about 6 p.m. Tuesday, about 40 miles northeast of Wichita, when a tractor-trailer smashed into a line of vehicles that had stopped for a flagger.
The tractor-trailer rear-ended a minivan carrying three people and a car with two occupants. All five people in the minivan and the car died at the scene as the tractor-trailer came to rest on top of the minivan and pinned the car against a semitrailer at the head of the line, the patrol said.
The patrol identified the three people killed Tuesday in the minivan as Victoria A. Bogner, 43, and her passengers, Gerald Christopher Bogner, 21, and Charlie Michelle Bogner, 17, all of the Ford County town of Wright.Killed in the car were driver John Cafferty, 56, and passenger Shirley Cafferty, age unknown, both of Wichita.