Families mourn as 1 woman, 4 kids killed in crash

 

Families and loved ones are bearing unspeakable pain as a crash on Interstate 435 has claimed the lives of a young mother, her three children and a teenage friend.

Grieving family members posted photos and memories on social media.

Family members said Sunday that Shante Hopkins, 24, and her three children were killed. Dominique Johnson, 17, was also killed in the crash, her devastated sister, Renee Willis Broadus, told KCTV5. Johnson was dating Hopkins' brother.

The five were driving from Kansas City to Warrensburg where Hopkins and her children lived, according to a GoFundMe account set up on behalf of the Hopkins family.

The crash happened just before 5 p.m. Saturday on southbound Interstate 435 near Eastwood Trafficway, which is just south of Interstate 70. The car stopped in the outermost southbound lane and was rear-ended by a semi, according to Kansas City police.

Authorities are still working to determine why the car came to a halt. Investigators are looking at whether mechanical issues are to blame or whether the vehicle ran out of fuel.

The semi plowed into the back of the car and drove the trunk into the front part of the vehicle. Johnson was taken to the hospital where she would die overnight from her injuries, her sister said. Two victims died at the scene while three died at area hospitals.

A section of I-435 was closed for more than five hours to allow authorities to investigate the crash.

The driver of the semi is cooperating with investigators.

In posts on KCTV5's Facebook page, Broadus shared her anguish and asked for prayers for the heartbroken families. She said she needs closure, including finding out why the car stopped. She said her sister "had dreams, plans, goals," including wanting to be a fashion designer or hair stylist.

"I promise you this hurts so much. My heart. My backbone. My everything is gone," she wrote. "The babies didn't even get a chance to experience the world yet."

Police identified the young children killed as Ja Riah, 2, Ja Nijah, who was to turn 2 years old in February, and 7-month-old Tay Shawn.

The driver of the semi is cooperating with investigators.

"I'm praying for the truck driver also. I know he is hurting too," Broadus wrote.

Johnson had attended Central High School in the Kansas City School District.

Jodi Smith has set up a GoFundMe.com account for the Hopkins family. Click here for that page. A GoFundMe.com page has been created to help pay for Johnson's funeral costs. Click here.

KCTV5's Jamie Oberg spoke to Johnson's father, sister and aunt. Her mother, Latonya, was too distraught to talk but did share photos of her daughter. They talked about how she loved to joke and laugh.

"I wish she was OK, I wish this was all a dream, wish I could call her one more time and tell her I love her, I miss her - and [I] won't ever see her again - ever ever again," Broadus said.

Johnson's family is now left cherishing the memories of a last Christmas with her.

"I know her body's gone but her soul is still here with us," Broadus said. "She's looking at us and everybody's smiling. She wouldn't want us to be sad. She would want us to be happy."

Gary Johnson said his daughter's death still seems surreal.

"Those that know her are going to always remember her because she left her mark everywhere she went," he said.Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved

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