Truck Didn’t Slow Down Before Crash That Killed 5

January 9, 2015

An 18-wheeler that slammed into a car that had stopped or nearly stopped in a Kansas City, Mo., highway traffic lane, killing the car’s five occupants, didn’t brake or try to avoid the crash, according to a preliminary police report.

The Dec. 27 crash on Interstate 435 killed 24-year-old Shante Hopkins, of Warrensburg, three of her young children and a 17-year-old family friend. The truck driver was not injured.

The report released Tuesday does not address whether police have determined why the car was stopped on the interstate before it was rear-ended, The Kansas City Star reported. Police are trying to determine whether the car ran out of gas or had a mechanical problem. A final report that includes a reconstruction of the accident has not been completed.

The truck driver, a 56-year Minnesota man, had a “straight line-of-sight” to the car and “neither adjusted his speed nor altered his course in order to avoid the collision,” the report noted. The driver cooperated with police and tested negative for alcohol on a preliminary breath test. The truck was inspected and released after the accident.

One witness told police that Hopkins’ Mazda was traveling at an “extremely slow speed, nearly stopped” and another driver had to swerve to avoid hitting the car.

Hopkins was driving with a revoked or suspended license, the report noted.

A spokesman for the Minnesota-based trucking company declined to comment to the newspaper because the investigation is ongoing.

U.S. Department of Transportation records show the company operates 50 trucks that traveled a combined 4.8 million miles in 2013, the newspaper reported. The company reported two injury crashes but no other fatality wrecks in the past two years and its safety violations have been considerably below the national average, according to department records.

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