Woman dies in head-on collision, sneezing attack to blame - KCTV5

Troopers: Sneezing attack leads to fatal head-on collision

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SMITHVILLE, MO (KCTV) -

Authorities say a sneezing attack apparently caused a deadly crash in Smithville.

Kathryn A. Brady, 44, of Smithville, had a violent sneezing attack, causing her to lose control and hit another car head-on, according to a Missouri Highway Patrol report.

Laura N. McClendon, 30, of Kansas City, the driver of the second vehicle, was killed. A toddler in her vehicle, Jet A. Kirkland, was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital with serious injuries.

Brady was shaken up but declined to go to the hospital via ambulance.

The wreck happened at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Highway DD and Litton Way. Brady had just turned east onto the highway from Litton Road when she "started sneezing violently," according to the report.  Her vehicle crossed the center line into oncoming traffic and struck McClendon's vehicle head on.

So far no charges have been filed, but investigators said that could change.

This is the 56th deadly accident of the year in the region, and troopers said McClendon was not wearing her seatbelt.

State troopers say it's a reminder to be prepared for anything on the road and, no matter what happens, it's a driver's responsibility to maintain control of the car.

"It's just something that we're trying to get a grasp on, get a handle of. The fatalities are on the rise now, we need to push the word out that it is about safe driving, and maintaining your awareness when you're in the vehicle, and first and foremost is putting that seatbelt on. That's the best defense you can have against those unsafe drivers," Sgt. Bill Lowe said.

Troopers said Brady wasn't intoxicated and didn't show any other signs of distraction, so the violent sneezing fit appears to be the cause of the wreck. They said the worst thing a person can do is cross the center line so, if someone feels themselves losing control for any reason, it's advised to slow down and drift toward the shoulder on the right, away from traffic.

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