April 1: Officials work the scene of a Minnesota-bound motor home in a ravine off Interstate 35 in northeast Kansas.AP
LYNDON, Kan. – A packed motor home headed from Texas to Minnesota crashed Sunday morning in northeast Kansas, killing five people and sending 13 others to hospitals.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said the northbound vehicle was filled with 18 people and pulling a trailer when the driver lost control at 9 a.m. on Interstate 35. The vehicle hit a guardrail and a concrete bridge rail before crashing into a creek ravine near the small town of Williamsburg, which is located about 70 miles southwest of Kansas City, Mo. Debris was strewn around the crumpled Freightliner box truck, which had living quarters inside.
Trooper Don Hughes said the fatality victims included adults and children. The crash is under investigation. Hughes said he couldn't immediately release the names, ages or hometowns of the victims because their relatives were still being notified. Hughes said the vehicle was not registered in Kansas but would not confirm where its license plates had been issued.
The survivors were sent to several surrounding hospitals. One of the hospitals, Overland Park Regional Medical Center, received two adults and an 8-year-old boy who were in critical condition, said spokeswoman Chris Hamele. The adults remained critical Sunday night, and the boy was transferred to a children's hospital, which declined to release any information about him or a 3-year-old who was transferred there.
Hospitals in Topeka, Olathe and Ottawa reported discharging five of the victims, while another victim being treated at a Kansas City, Kan., hospital was listed as fair. The conditions of the other victims weren't immediately known.
"Every once in a while you will get a large number of fatalities in one accident," Hughes said. "We are lucky they don't happen very often."
The crash stalled traffic for several hours on the interstate while crews worked the accident.