KTA identifies 5th victim in fiery 6-vehicle I-70 crash

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)

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas Turnpike Authority have released the name of the fifth victim killed in a fiery multi-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon near Kansas City.

KTA said Karen Lynn Kennedy, 63, of New Palestine, Indiana was a passenger in an SUV driven by Teresa Butler, 61, of Urbana, Illinois, who was also killed in the crash.

Three Topekans were also killed in the six vehicle crash. They were identified as Sheldon Cohen, an 83-year-old retired, longtime chemistry professor at Washburn University in Topeka, and his wife, Virginia Cohen, 79. Ricardo Mireles, 38, was identified as the third victim from Topeka.

The crash happened Tuesday afternoon near Bonner 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, driven by Mireles, was forced under the stopped tractor-trailer, which then rear-ended a pickup truck. Both rigs and Mireles’ vehicle caught on fire. The rigs’ drivers survived.

The other car, a Buick LaCrosse, driven by Sheldon Cohen with his wife Virginia Cohen as the passenger, was forced into a guardrail, spun around and came to rest in a ditch.

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