3 Topekans killed in fiery 6-vehicle crash on I-70

Investigators survey the scene of a multi-vehicle accident that claimed multiple lives on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, on westbound Interstate 70 just west of Bonner Springs, Kans. The crash closed the highway in both directions for about two hours. (Keith Myers/The Kansas City Star via AP)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas Turnpike Authority has released the names of four of the five individuals killed in a multi-vehicle crash on I-70 near Kansas City.

The crash happened Tuesday afternoon near Bonnor Springs when a tractor-trailer driver crested a slight hill and failed to slow for traffic that was stalled because of a construction about 2 miles ahead, according to a Kansas Turnpike Authority crash report.

The westbound rig rammed a sport utility vehicle and then two cars before crashing into a stopped tractor-trailer. One of the cars, a Ford Taurus, was forced under the stopped tractor-trailer, which then rear-ended a pickup truck. Both rigs and the Taurus caught on fire. The rigs’ drivers survived, but the Taurus’ driver, Ricardo Mireles, 38, of Topeka, was killed.

The other car, a Buick LaCrosse, was forced into a guardrail, spun around and came to rest in a ditch. The driver, Sheldon Cohen, an 83-year-old retired, longtime chemistry professor at Washburn University in Topeka, and his wife, Virginia Cohen, 79, were killed. Also killed was the SUV’s driver, Teresa Butler, 61, of Urbana, Illinois, and her unidentified 63-year-old passenger.

KSNT News will continue to update as new information becomes available.

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