A second man has died from his injuries suffered in a wrong-way crash along the Lewis and Clark Viaduct.
His friends and family are mourning his loss in an explicable crash.
Authorities said 66-year-old Otis T. Estell, of KCK, was driving his SUV the wrong way without his headlights on about 8 p.m. Wednesday heading east on westbound Interstate 70 on the Kansas side.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said Estell plowed his 1993 Ford Explorer into William J. Jerdee, 47, and killed him.
Troopers said Jerdee, who was driving a 1999 Ford Escort, was wearing a seatbelt. Estell, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was transported to an area hospital, where he later died.
The westbound lanes of the viaduct were closed for about two hours after the crash.
James Kiehl, Jerdee's best friend for 25 years, spoke about his friend on behalf of Jerdee's family.
"Bill was the kind of guy that had no strangers in his life. He saw someone in need and he was the first to help," Kiehl said. "He was a friendly face to anyone who needed help. He had a heart of gold. He had the capacity to talk to anybody. He had a range of skills and talents, and he had the capacity to fix anything."
Jerdee had worked as a master mechanic at a number of area car dealerships. He was driving home from work when he was killed.
Kiehl said that his friend was once traveling on an area interstate when he came across two young women from Pennsylvania broke down on the side of the highway.
"He happened to have the parts in his car that they needed to get back on the road," Kiehl said. "He repaired their car on the side of the road. He gave them the parts he had. That's the kind of thing he would do. He would do anything for anybody."
Jerdee's grieving family and friends are wondering why Estell was driving the wrong way. Investigators are examining this, including whether Estell was impaired or suffered a medical condition before the crash.
Kiehl said Jerdee's fiancee, four children and three grandchildren are especially struggling.
"I'm doing to deeply miss him. I love him and lots of people will miss him as well," Kiehl said. "It's definitely leaving a hole in a lot of lives."
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:43:54 GMT
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