Archive for Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Five more die in construction zone area

June 30, 2004

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— A six-vehicle crash in a construction zone on U.S. 50 killed at least five people, a day after a similar collision left two dead at the same location, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Wednesday.

At least nine people have been killed in the construction zone since early May, according to accident reports from the patrol. Each case involved a tractor-trailer hitting a passenger vehicle that had stopped or slowed near where the two-lane highway is restricted to one lane.

The latest crash happened about 6 p.m. Tuesday in Marion County, about 40 miles northeast of Wichita, when a westbound tractor-trailer smaashed into a line of passenger vehicles and semitrailers that had stopped for a flagger three miles east of Peabody, the patrol said in its report Wednesday.

The tractor-trailer pushed a sport utility vehicle into a ditch, injuring the driver, then 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.

Four bodies were found shortly after the accident, but the fifth was not discovered until about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, the patrol said.

The patrol identified the three people killed 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 Sheryll Cafferty, age unknown, both of Wichita, the patrol said.

The patrol identified the driver of the tractor-trailer that started the chain collision as Rich Duncan, 33, whose hometown was not listed. Duncan was in fair condition Wednesday at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, the hospital's media office said.

Two other injured drivers were taken other area medical centers, according to the patrol, but they were not on those hospitals' patient rosters Wednesday morning.

The nine-mile stretch of U.S. 50 between Peabody and Florence remained closed Wednesday morning.

On Monday, two people were killed at the same spot when their pickup truck exploded in flames after it was smashed from behind by a tractor-trailer. They were from Mexico and had not been identified by Wednesday morning.

A May 10 accident in the construction zone killed two people whose van was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The patrol identified the victims in that crash as Lori B. Leeders, 42, and Brandi R. Billbe, 40, both of Marion County.

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