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Archive for Thursday, June 16, 2005

Widow sues over crash

Suit claims I-70 unsafe

June 16, 2005

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— A woman whose husband and two sons died in a crash on Interstate 70 last year has sued the Kansas Turnpike Authority, contending the highway is unreasonably dangerous and unsafe for public travel.

The accident on April 16 near Bonner Springs killed Joseph Lombardo, 47, and his sons, Joseph Jr., 26, and Anthony, 24. The men were returning to their home in Bonner Springs from working on an addition to a hospital in Liberty, Mo.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Wyandotte County District Court by Cindi Sue Lombardo, now of Branson, Mo., widow of the elder Lombardo, and T. K. Kunsman, a Branson resident who is administrator of her sons' estates.

The lawsuit alleges that the highway is dangerous and unsafe and that the Turnpike Authority knew this but failed to correct it. The lawsuit seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

Lisa Callahan, spokeswoman for the authority, said she had not seen the lawsuit but denied that the highway was unsafe. She said she had seen no evidence reflecting claims that there had been many other accidents along the part of the highway where the crash took place.

Lt. John Eickhorn of the Kansas Highway Patrol said Joseph Lombardo Jr. was driving a minivan when it left the turnpike just east of the Kansas 7 exit, striking a sign and guardrail, overturning several times and crashing into a bridge pillar.

Eickhorn said the investigating trooper believed the driver had fallen asleep. He said the vehicle drifted off the north side of the road into a ditch and there were no skid marks and no evidence of mechanical failure.

Eickhorn also said there were rolling tire impressions in grass along the road, with no indication that the driver was braking.

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