Eight people hospitalized after car accidents on I-35

Eight people, including two children, were taken to Kansas City-area hospitals Thursday afternoon after two crashes that happened minutes apart on Interstate 35 near Ottawa.

Lt. Adam Weingartner, an Ottawa police spokesman, said the first accident occurred at 2:40 p.m. when the driver of a southbound pickup truck, Renae Vasquez, 57, of St. Paul, Minn., lost control of the vehicle near the Eisenhower Road exit and rolled off the right shoulder.

A 3-year-old girl, Evelyn Ramero-Martinez, and Maria Martinez-Leon, 27, of Minneapolis, Minn., both in the back seat, were ejected from the vehicle, and Vasquez and the front passenger, Miguel Romero-Perez, 27, also of Minneapolis, had to be extricated. Weingartner said the child was in a booster seat, but officers were still investigating the circumstances before the crash.

The child was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and Vazquez and two other adults were taken to Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

Minutes after the accident a second vehicle driven by 18-year-old Mariah McIntyre, of Kansas City, Mo., crashed into a vehicle the driver had parked to try to assist victims of the first crash.

One passenger in McIntyre’s vehicle, 9-year-old Logan Crites of Kansas City, Mo., was also taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital, and McIntyre and two others, Morgan Crites, 14, and Jordyn Crites, 12, both also from Kansas City, Mo., were taken to the Overland Park hospital.

“It would not appear at this point that there were life-threatening injuries,” Weingartner said.

Investigators do not believe alcohol contributed to either crash, he said, but other factors are still under investigation.