Friday, September 21, 2012

MoDOT worker killed in Kansas City crash.

Terrible traffic on the early morning commute into downtown was the result of a horrible car accident on I70 where a MoDot worker was killed.  It appears that a motorist-assist truck had came out to help the victim of another car accident that had happened earlier that morning and the MoDot worker ended up a victim him/herself.

There are several news articles describing the accident and from one account the driver of a Honda Accord slammed into the back of the MoDot vehicle causing both of them to burst into flames which ultimately killed the MoDot worker.  It is a very sad story to see someone just going about their everyday life doing their job and get killed due to the negligence of another. 

Here are a couple articles describing the accident.

Wichita Eagle

MoDOT Worker killed while working I-70 crash
by: Robert Cronkleton

A Missouri Department of Transportation worker died this morning when he was struck and killed while working a crash scene that had shut down Interstate 70 in Independence.  The first crash occurred about 1: 40 a.m. along eastbound I-70 near Lee’s Summit Road. Two people were ejected from their vehicles, and one of them died. The crash closed all lanes of eastbound I-70.  The MoDOT worker arrived shortly thereafter and was helping to divert traffic.  A car traveling east on I-70 struck the MoDOT motor-assist truck around 2:45 a.m., causing it to burst into flames. The motorist-assist driver was hit outside his vehicle and died at the scene, according to media reports.  As of 7:20 a.m., eastbound I-70 remained closed and the left lane of westbound I-70 was closed near the crash.

Ozarks First

MoDOT Worker Killed in Series of Crashes in Kansas City
by: KCTV, Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Motorists are urged to avoid Interstate 70 in eastern Jackson County after two crashes Friday morning with a highway worker dying in one of the crashes.   A worker for the Missouri Department of Transportation was killed in the second crash.  Both eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 70 between U.S. 40 and Highway 291 were closed for hours. Traffic began to move again on westbound I-70 at 6 a.m., but traffic was backed up.  The first crash happened at 1:45 a.m. with a wreck at I-70 near Lee's Summit Road. Two people were injured and initial reports were that one was killed. However, Independence police now say no one died in that crash. A MODOT crew began to set up to shutdown eastbound lanes of traffic and divert traffic onto Lee's Summit Road.  A driver of a Honda Accord slammed into the MODOT vehicle. Both vehicles burst into flames, killing the MODOT worker.  The driver of the Honda Accord was taken to an area hospital. Independence Police Department spokesman Tom Gentry said the hope is to have the eastbound lanes open by 7:30 a.m.  Investigators worked to reconstruct the crashes

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tragic accident outside of Kansas City Church

A terrible accident kills an infant after church services on Sunday when a longtime church member was speeding backward out of a parking spot and struck the infant and family members.  It appears that a young lady tried to perform CPR on the infant but was not successful.  An article in the Kansas City Star outlines what is known of the accident.

I hope that this can be a wake up call to some seniors that know they should not be driving.  Just because it is legal to drive doesn't make it safe.  Hopefully the family will hire a personal injury lawyer to investigate the case and at least find out what exactly happened.

Here is the article in the Star.

Car speeding backward kills infant outside North Kansas City church

The driver, 89, a member of First Baptist Church, is cooperating with police.

By: Lee Kavanaugh
An 11-month-old girl died and her grandparents were injured Sunday morning when a car slammed into them as they left their North Kansas City church.  Witnesses said a car driven by an 89-year-old longtime member of First Baptist Church at 2205 Iron St. struck the victims as it sped backward out of a handicapped parking spot.  “It shot out like a cannon,” said Patty Reed, who was parked directly in front of the driver’s car. “Had he gone forward, we wouldn’t be here right now.”

The car slammed into another vehicle, overturned a fire hydrant and then squealed backward about 50 feet down the street until it came to a stop.  In the parking lot, the couple who had been walking with their granddaughter behind the car were on the ground.  People rushed to the victims, said Cec Reed, Patty’s husband.  “I can still hear the screaming — men, women, everyone rushing to help,” Cec Reed said Sunday evening. “My wife and I have prayed and cried all day.”  One young woman started CPR on the girl, he said.

“Then she stopped and looked up in the sky and screamed, ‘Oh my God, no! Please, God, no!”  But the baby appeared lifeless.  All three victims were rushed to a hospital, where the baby was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. Her grandparents’ conditions were not available Sunday night.  Police said the driver was cooperating with their investigation.  The only crash debris that remained in the parking lot by the evening worship service was five crumbled animal crackers, a piece of a brake light and an overturned yellow fire hydrant.  “The heartbreak of this day goes deep,” the Rev. Tiger Pennington said at a special outdoor prayer service Sunday evening.

About 90 members of the church came together, with Pennington lifting them up with verses.  He asked God for healing. Several church families are devastated, he said, but their faith offers hope after the sorrow.  “Death will not have the final word this day,” Pennington said.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Local KC Metro Municipality may ban Cell phone use in cars

About 10 states have done the same thing...why not us.  That appears to be the thinking at the Mission city council meeting as new city legislation is under discussion.  The ban would stop individuals from using hand held cell phones while driving an automobile in Mission city limits.  The obvious reason is to help reduce traffic accidents related to cell phone use.  I am sure that this will face some strong opposition.

Here is the article in the Kansas City Star.

Mission mulls ban on hand-held cellphones while driving

Council faces backlash over its plan to be first in the area to outlaw using the device while driving.

Read more here:’re driving down Shawnee Mission Parkway chatting on your cellphone. Suddenly, red lights are flashing in your rearview mirror.  You’ve just crossed the border into Mission.

That’s what the future could look like in Mission, a small Johnson County suburb that is talking seriously about doing what few cities have tried so far: banning use of hand-held cellphones while driving.  Nationwide, 10 states have banned talking on hand-held cellphones, although the bans have not been implemented in the Midwest. Every day new laws are being considered, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has begun a national campaign.  So Mission isn’t waiting.  “I think it is a lot bigger problem than people realized,” said Pat Quinn, a Mission city councilman. “I definitely think we could save some lives and property damage and injuries by making that illegal.”

A proposed ordinance would allow people to talk on hands-free cellphones only. If police see drivers holding phones within 8 inches or so of their heads, they could pull them over.  Currently the ordinance is before the finance and administration committee and will come up for discussion again, possibly in November.  City officials know that the ordinance is controversial — they were besieged by calls when it first came up last month.  “A couple of my friends told me I was walking into a hornet’s nest,” said Police Chief John Simmons, who introduced the measure to the council.  Mayor Laura McConwell said the council recognizes the safety issues involved — one council member lost a friend to a distracted driver. But she also recognizes that Mission is a small city in a metropolitan area. She said a workshop and public hearings might be needed, as well as conversations with other cities and the county before such an ordinance is passed.

“This is a pretty big culture shift, so it needs to have a much broader conversation before we move forward,” McConwell said.  Growing cell risk.  It seems that every day new laws are being considered as concerns grow about the “distracted driver” syndrome.  Distracted driving, officials say, includes anything that diverts the driver’s attention, such as using cellphones and smartphones, texting, eating and drinking, grooming and reading, including maps, using a navigation system or watching videos.  In fact, the name of the federal campaign’s website is  But cellphones are usually the focus.

“Everybody has been impacted by someone on a cellphone,” said Leanna Depue, highway safety director for the Missouri Department of Transportation. “If you are not putting all your attention into that very complex task and very complex environment that is always changing, you do increase your risk of crashing.”  Driving and using a cellphone can reduce the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent, according to a study at Carnegie Mellon. Texting increases the crash risk 23 times, says a study of long-haul truckers by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.  In 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the federal government, and an estimated 416,000 people were injured.

Little Apple
Ten states and the District of Columbia have banned handheld cellphones. In all, 39 ban texting while driving, including Kansas.  Missouri bans texting for drivers under 21. For the past two years the state legislature unsuccessfully has attempted to pass a law prohibiting distracted driving.  As for cities, fewer than 20 nationwide, including Detroit and Chicago, have tried to ban cellphones on their own, according to the American Automobile Association.  In Kansas, only Manhattan is known to have a cellphone law.  The home of Kansas State University banned using electronics while driving because so many of the 23,000 students seemed to be using them, creating safety concerns, said Brad Schoen, the Manhattan and Riley County Police Department director.  “I’ll tell you we write a ton of citations,” Schoen said.

Since January police have ticketed more than 700 drivers for talking on cellphones and texting, generating an estimated $100,000 in revenue. Another 1,000 drivers received warnings.  If you are seen holding a device close to your head, “there is a legal presumption you are using it illegally,” Schoen said. “The driver then has to prove he wasn’t using it illegally.” 

Mission law
The city of Mission, already known for its aggressive traffic enforcement, may become the first in the Kansas City area with a cellphone ordinance.  It would be “proactive,” Simmons said. Police already can cite a driver who is distracted and causes an accident. But the new ordinance means police would no longer have to wait for an accident to ticket you if they see you talking on the phone.  Police also could use the ordinance to conduct checkpoints — they could station an officer near a busy intersection to spot violators and then radio ahead to a waiting officer, as Manhattan does, Simmons said.  But passing the ordinance isn’t guaranteed — after Simmons first proposed the ordinance last month, complaints as well as praise came to him from all directions.

The concerns included:
•  Restricting liberties.
For example, the Kansas helmet law only applies to those under 18 because of arguments that it infringes on personal liberties, Quinn said. And he agrees. “That is a personal choice for a guy riding a motorcycle,” he said.  But he argues that the cellphone ban is different because it would protect the public from distracted drivers.
•  Making money for the city.
Questions rose about Mission’s reputation of being a speed trap. Was this just another way to raise revenue for the city?  “Citizens have a feeling in Mission in general that the police write way too many tickets,” Quinn said.  But Quinn said the new law would be about safety, not money. He and Simmons both said they hoped they would not have to ticket anyone if an education program and signs are effective.
“I would hope we would get the word out if we pass something like that, people would quit doing it when they drive through Mission,” Quinn said. “If you end up making some revenue that is just frosting on the cake, as they would say.”
•  Confusion over city borders.
In other words, people wouldn’t know when they are driving into Mission, which is surrounded by other suburbs and crossed by many streets.  That’s one reason some other suburbs are unlikely to consider such a law.
“If you have regulations on this from city to city, it is really tough for people,” said Scott Lambers, Leawood city administrator. “To be fair to the people, you would have to post (city limits) because it is such a rare violation. You would at least have to do this on a countywide basis, if not statewide.”
That hasn’t been a problem in Manhattan, police there said, because when you enter the city, you’re leaving a rural area.  But Mission Kansas officials said they plan to put up signs to let people know they’re in Mission and that there’s a cellphone ban.  Quinn, whose business is escorting funeral processions, said he thinks the effort is worthwhile.  “I’ve seen so many close calls due to cellphones,” he said. “It’s amazing how many times you yell at them to get off the phone, and they look at you like you are crazy.”

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