Witness describes semi-towing car on Kansas City Interstate 435

LEAWOOD, Kan. (WDAF) – The driver of a semi-trailer truck in Kansas told police he thought his vehicle felt “sluggish.” That’s because he had dragged a car that had crashed into him eight miles behind him.

It began early Wednesday morning when a 28-year-old woman driving a compact Kia skidded through a red light in snowy weather and slammed into the side of the truck, police said. Unable to see what had happened, the driver of the truck continued through the intersection and onto the interstate.

A witness, Samarth Thakur, had salted parking lots when the snow fell. He was at the traffic light when the accident happened.

“She was probably going 30-40 mph, and the next thing you know the car just wedged under it,” Thakur said.

Thakur expected the truck driver to get out and see if the other driver was okay, but it wasn’t.

“We heard a huge bang, there was a loud bang, and I thought he felt it or stopped, but he didn’t stop at all and just kept going,” Thakur said.

Video captured on a passenger’s phone shows the semi-trailer truck moving through the intersection after the Kia Forte hit it right in front of the passenger-side rear wheels.

The truck then climbed onto I-435 Westbound and dragged the car next to it. Footage from cameras above I-435 shows the car being dragged down the freeway, its red taillights visible to the right of the truck.

At one point, another salt truck can be seen pulling up behind the semi, flashing its lights to try to warn the semi.

“We honked,” said Thakur. “I wasn’t trying to get forward, but my mate did. We tried rolling down our windows to slow him down and he didn’t draw our attention at all.”

Thakur said he could see the helpless woman moving inside and feared the worst.

“If she broke away from that spot, she could have been run over by those rear wheels. The car would have broken down, I think,” he said.

After eight miles, police in Overland Park finally stopped the truck. Inside the Kia, they found the Kansas City woman stuck, with her car’s roofline partially collapsing.

A recording by 911 dispatchers showed the woman was conscious, although she said she was unable to move or get out of the car.

She told police she left a bar and was drinking, but believed she was safe to drive, according to a police report.

The 70-year-old driver of the articulated lorry told police he believed he hit a curb, adding that his vehicle felt “sluggish” afterward.

The investigation into the crash is still active, the police said.


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