BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. - Five people were killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 70 near Bonner Springs, Kansas on Tuesday afternoon.
The incident involved two 18-wheelers and four vehicles near Interstate 70 near 174th Street, near the turnpike. This portion of the highway will be closed for an extended amount of time, officials said.
According to the Kansas Turnpike Authority, one tractor trailer struck the back of a SUV and passenger car then hit another tractor trailer.
“It turned into a train-type pile up. I mean it looked like something out of a movie, just cars and pieces everywhere,” said Brian Reeves, who witnessed the series of crashes unfold.
He told 41 Action News he was about five cars behind the initial wreck.
“In the split second it takes you to process what you saw in front of you, you get out of the car, call 911 right away and immediately the fire started on the edge of the semi and it grew exponentially so fast. You saw there weren’t people getting out of a couple of the cars,” said Reeves.
Officials said the two passengers in the car and the passengers in the SUV were killed.
As crews continued to clear the site, an additional two cars were found in the crash. The Kansas Turnpike Authority said another person was dead in one of those vehicles.
“We had no idea there were any cars underneath that truck because you couldn’t see anything,” said Tom Theno, who lives nearby and heard the crash. “I had never seen a wreck like that out here before and I hope I don’t see another one.”
The conditions of the truckers are not known at this time.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said Interstate 70 eastbound at West/East Lawrence or the Tonganoxie exits are shutdown. Interstate 70 westbound is being diverted off the highway at K-7 Highway.
Officials said there were no hazardous materials in the semis.
The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the fire.
5 killed in fiery crash on I-70 near Bonner Springs
By Stan Finger
A fiery collision in northeast Kansas has killed five people, injured another and forced authorities to divert traffic off of I-70.
Investigators sift through the remains of two tractor-trailers and three passenger vehicles that were destroyed on Tuesday in a fiery crash along Interstate 70 west of Bonner Springs. Another vehicle involved in the wreck was able to be driven from the sc Keith Myers The Kansas City Star
The collision occurred shortly before 2:30 p.m. in the westbound lanes of I-70 not far from the Kansas Turnpike toll plaza, said Rachel Bell, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Turnpike Authority.
A semitrailer truck slammed into the back of an SUV and a sedan, then hit a second semi, Bell said. The two semis burst into flames and became “fully engulfed,” she said.
After the fire was extinguished and investigators were reviewing the scene, they discovered two more vehicles that had been involved in the collision and were destroyed by flames, Bell said.
Two people in the car and two in the SUV were killed in the collision, while one of the drivers of the semis was taken to a hospital. A fifth person was found dead in one of the vehicles discovered after the flames were put out, Bell said.
Thick smoke from the fires prompted “the entire roadway” to be shut down near the intersection with K-7, Bell said.
One lane of eastbound I-70 has reopened to traffic, she said, but westbound lanes will remain closed for several more hours.
Interstate 70 was closed in both directions at mile marker 218, west of Bonner Springs, after a truck caugh