74-year-old woman killed in wreck involving 47 vehicles near Oak Grove

JACKSON COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -- A woman is dead and multiple injuries have been reported after a wreck involving 47 vehicles near Oak Grove, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.

The westbound lanes of Interstate 70 at the 29-mile marker were closed due to the crash, which happened at 11:30 a.m. on Friday.

On Saturday, the woman who died in the crash was identified as 74-year-old Linda Henderson from Platte City. 

A statement from the family was sent out that said:

“As a result of a winter-related accident near Oak Grove, Missouri on February 15, 2019, we are deeply saddened to share that our beloved and incredible Mother, Grandmother, Girl Scout Leader, and loving woman, Linda Henderson, age 74, from Platte City, MO, passed away immediately following the accident.

Her adoring husband, our Father and Papa, James Henderson, age 75 is in critical condition at Centerpoint Medical Center where he was taken to the Trauma Center as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.

We are incredibly grateful for the enormous amount of love, support and prayers we have received from all over the country. As we mourn the loss of such an amazing woman, we also know we have a long road ahead. With the great care he is receiving, the love and prayers of others, we have faith that he will have a strong recovery. We also ask for your understanding to respect our privacy as we deal with this event, and so we can stay focused on caring for and being here for our Father.

For those who have inquired about how to help our family during this time, a Go Fund Me Account has been set up and can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/james-and-linda-henderson.

- Christine Hamele, on behalf of The Family of James and Linda Henderson"

Initial reports said that 15 vehicles were involved, but Sni Valley Fire later said in a tweet that at least 40 vehicles were involved. Later, the MSHP said 47 cars were involved in the pileup.

According to the crash log that was sent out on Saturday evening, the crash began when a semi truck lost control on the snow-covered road and went off the left side of the road. It stopped partially blocking the road, which is when the SUV with the Hendersons in it hit the back of the semi. A 2013 Dodge Ram then hit the passenger side of the Henderson's SUV. 

Linda Henderson was the passenger. 

After that, the other additional crashes began happening, and a car and another SUV ended up hitting the Dodge Ram. 

Tow trucks stretched on and on with damaged cars even five hours after the crash happened.

Traffic was at a standstill for miles and it was seven hours until the highway reopened. 

Even once the highway reopened, semi trucks were still unable to climb hills. 

Mike Smith was one of many truck drivers who avoided the highway backup by taking an access road, which was also congested.

“I’m third generation driver,” he said. “I knew the backup was coming because I listen to my radio.”

A trucker shared video on Facebook of the pileup in progress. That video can be viewed here.

We showed the video to Smith, and he said he’s all too familiar.

“I think at a certain point they couldn’t stop,” said KCTV5’s Betsy Webster. “No, they can’t because they’re going too fast for these roads,” Smith replied. “They’re going way too fast. You can tell they’re going too fast.”

“They’re doing the speed limit, but they can’t stop on this stuff because it’s like ice underneath,” Smith said.

Another crash involving several semi-trailer trucks closed the interstate near Concordia on Friday, and other serious crashes were reported near St. Joseph and Columbia.

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