Two people have died, and nine others have been injured after a passenger van slammed into the back end of a semi on Interstate 29 just south of St. Joseph, MO.
The deadly accident happened just before 5 a.m. and involved three tractor-trailers, two cars and one 16-passenger van. The wreck shut down both lanes of northbound I-29 about four miles south of Interstate 229 near St. Joseph for several hours. The backup behind the accident at one point was more than a mile long.
It was an accident likely caused by inattentive driving.
A community is devastated by the loss of a husband and his wife. Phun Bik, 47, and his wife, Rose Mery Thlia, 37, were killed instantly in the car accident Thursday morning.
The couple was Van Ling's uncle and aunt.
"Our family is very sad right now," Ling said.
Missouri State troopers said it appears the driver, Bik, did not realize that traffic in front of him had slowed down. He crashed into the back of one car and then swerved into the back of a semi.
The passenger van was completely mangled and its front half was destroyed. Eight others in the van, all related to one another, suffered severe injuries in the crash.
"We become just relaxed in our cars. We need to make sure we are paying attention, what's down the road, what is in front of us. In this case sight distance was good, we had proper lights, we just have to pay attention," Sgt. Sheldon Lyon said.
"They are in pretty bad shape. Some have broken legs, some have head injuries," Ling said.
Ling said his family and everyone in the van are from the country Burma, now called Myanmar. He said there's a large community of Chin, one of the ethnic groups in Burma, in Kansas City, KS.
"They went to Malaysia and then from the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) they came here as a refugees," Ling said.
The van was headed to St. Joseph, MO. Some of the passengers worked in the meat packaging plant Triumph Foods.
But now the Chin community must gather to bury a couple, a couple who came to the United States just one year ago for a new life.
The driver of the car that was rear-ended was also hurt and taken to the hospital
Troopers said when they arrived on scene, there was a language barrier. Troopers again want to remind drivers to pay close attention to what's in front and what's behind them.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
UPDATETwo dead, 9 injured in massive wreck on I-29 near St. JoeMore>>
Monday, December 9 2013 9:16 AM EST2013-12-09 14:16:23 GMT
A Sonic restaurant in Belton is coming under fire for something they put on its welcome sign about the Kansas City Chiefs game. Someone snapped a photo of the sign outside the restaurant that read "KCMore >
A Sonic restaurant in Belton apologized and quickly removed a sign urging the Kansas City Chiefs to "scalp the Redskins."More >
Monday, December 9 2013 11:33 PM EST2013-12-10 04:33:06 GMT
Police are investigating after a man's girlfriend reporting him missing on Saturday. Gianfranco Villagomez-Saldana's girlfriend called Lawrence police about 7 p.m. when she hadn't heard from him. PoliceMore >
Authorities in Lawrence believe a body found in the backyard of a home is that of a missing University of Kansas student.More >
Monday, December 9 2013 11:02 PM EST2013-12-10 04:02:55 GMT
Fire forced a Shawnee family out of their home early Sunday morning.One of the residents was still awake and noticed smoke coming from the basement and was able to get his family out of the burning homeMore >
Officials say at least five house fires in the Kansas City metro area over the weekend were caused by problems with fireplaces.More >
Monday, December 9 2013 8:16 AM EST2013-12-09 13:16:18 GMT
Police are using money from drug busts to buy equipment that could save lives during a mass shooting. The new equipment includes gun cabinets that could hold rifles and ammunition inside some ShawneeMore >
Overland Park police are using money from drug busts to buy equipment that could save lives during a mass shooting.More >
Monday, December 9 2013 12:40 PM EST2013-12-09 17:40:40 GMT
Police continue their investigation of a fatal accident involving a pedestrian Sunday night. It happened about 10 p.m. on southbound Interstate 49 near East 140th Street. A man who was walking on theMore >
Police continue to investigate a fatality accident involving a pedestrian that was struck and killed Sunday evening.More >
Monday, December 9 2013 9:09 AM EST2013-12-09 14:09:53 GMT
Icy roads are causing a number of accidents Monday morning around the metro.Southbound 71 Highway was shut down Monday morning due to icy road conditions. Several vehicles went off the road shortly beforeMore >
Icy roads are causing a number of accidents Monday morning around the metro.More >