The westbound side of Interstate 435 was shut down in Leawood, Kansas, for nearly 12 hours on Sunday after a deadly car crash took place near State Line Road. KMBC 9 News reported that two children were killed and three other people were injured in the crash.
Authorities have identified the deceased as 7-year-old Ruth Vasquez and 1-year-old Teresa Vasquez of Kansas City, Missouri.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, at around 4 p.m., 37-year-old Angelica Hernandez-Valentin was on her way home from a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese in Overland Park. She was traveling with her four children.
As she was driving her minivan on Interstate 435, for unknown reasons, she made a sudden stop in the right lane. Just moments later, a semi-truck, driven by a 71-year-old man whose name has not been released to the public, slammed into the back of her minivan.
A Kansas City couple, Layton Wilson and Dakota Chambers, who was traveling on Interstate 435 witnessed the violent car crash. When they stopped to help the family, Wilson stated that “there was nothing that I could have done to prepare myself for when I walked around the other side of the van.”
Wilson found Ruth and Teresa dead. A 9-year-old boy and his 14-year-old brother were found alive but seriously injured. Their mother was found injured, lying in the street.
“I was kind of patting her [Hernandez-Valentin] on the back and just seeing if she would say anything to me or say anything period, but she was just laying face down crying,” said Wilson.
Meanwhile, Chambers was consoling one of the boys, holding his hand as he repeatedly asked for his family.
Several motorists pulled over to help the car crash victims. ABC Action News reported that one man took off his belt and used it to control the blood that was spewing out of the 9-year-old boy’s leg.
When the emergency medical crew arrived at the car crash scene, paramedics rushed the victims to an area hospital. Hernandez-Valentin is listed in critical condition, while her sons are being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The semi-truck driver was also transported to the hospital and has since been released.
The Kansas Highway Patrol stated that it is unknown if the children were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. An investigation into the Interstate 435 car crash in Leawood is ongoing.