Wrong-way wrecks, like Sunday fatal crash, more common than you think

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Unfortunately, wrong-way crashes like the one Sunday that took a man's life happen all too often, officials say.

A wrong-way crash on Interstate 29 near Barry Road over the weekend left one man dead and another in the hospital when the driver of a Suburban slammed head on into a pickup truck around 6:15 a.m. Sunday. Kansas City police said the driver of the pickup is expected to survive.

Police haven’t said how the driver of the Suburban ended up in the wrong lane, but the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the most common cause of wrong way crashes is alcohol.

“You got vehicles traveling at high rates of speed in the opposite direction is a recipe for death,” MSHP Sgt. Collin Stosberg said.

Wrong-way driving on interstates and highways happens more than you may think.

A wrong-way driver on I-29 caused a crash Sunday, leaving one man dead.

“It's almost a daily occurrence where we get these calls from all over our troop that there's a wrong way driver,” Stosberg said.

Kansas City Police are investigating wrong way crash from Sunday on I-29. The driver who died was going southbound in the northbound lane, according to investigators.

Police haven’t said if alcohol played a role, but the Missouri State Highway Patrol said in incidents like Sunday’s crash, it’s likely. Stosberg said troopers have pulled over many wrong-way drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

“Often time what we see with our investigations is one way drivers are impaired,” Stosberg said. “More times than not they correct themselves. At the same time, we do have those crashes that involve impaired drivers that are going the wrong way, and it's really tragic and senseless.”

In 2016, there were 18 deadly wrong-way one-side crashes on all of Missouri’s roads, streets, highways and interstates, according to data from Missouri State Highway Patrol. Two of those deadly wrecks were in Platte County on I-29 -- like the crash on Sunday.

Neighbors in the area said something has to change before more lives are lost.

“I lived there in that area working before they built everything up, and it's kind of become a cluster,” said a woman who did not wish to be named. “And I think they do need to figure out something better for exits and entering different places around in that area.”

Missouri State Highway Patrol said if you see a driver going the wrong way in the metro, call 911. If you’re on the interstate you can call *55, and it will connect you directly to the closest Highway Patrol troop headquarters.

Editor's note: FOX4 previously said there were 62 wrong way crashes in Missouri in 2016. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has since clarified and said there have been 18 deadly wrong-way one-side crashes like the one on I-29.