Family mourns Cass County couple killed by alleged drunk driver

BELTON, Mo. -- A family is mourning the loss of a Cass County couple, hit and killed by an impaired driver.

“If anybody was prepared to go to heaven, they were the ones. They did everything right, for the right reasons too,” said John Henning.

The crash happened around 7 p.m. Tuesday, along Route D near the Jackson/Cass county line.

Troopers said a man driving under the influence swerved into the wrong lane, hitting the couple head-on, killing them.

“This was just a random, unlucky act of tragedy,” said John Henning, son of the couple killed.

John and Hamp Henning, said while their parents' lives ended with bad luck, their lives were full of blessing.

“There's a lot of people who have both my mom and dad in their heart daily,” said John Henning.

John “Jack” Henning, 80, and his wife Nancy, 78, were passionate about the greater Kansas City community. They attended church every day at Catholic parishes around Belton, including St. Sabina.

Their children said they were also deeply committed to numerous charities, often without anyone really knowing the extent of their giving.

“They were champions for the underdog. 100 percent. They gave, they helped, the volunteered for causes that would help underprivileged people,” said John Henning.

The Hennings were just days short of marking their 55-year wedding anniversary. Their family describes them as an incredible team and the epitome of being humble.

“They never bragged about anything ever. But they did so much,” John Henning said.

The couple raised five kids, and deeply adored their grandchildren. Jack spent over 30 years in financial services, often mentoring up-and-comers. Nancy held down the fort.

“My mom stuck at home raising five knuckleheads and keeping us on the rails and had her hands full too! My mom was a lover of outlaw country music, the Flint Hills, and just a cool lady,” said Hamp Henning.

Nancy and Jack spent Tuesday with a family member in Emporia. They came home, and headed to dinner in Martin City. On their way back, troopers say a 31-year-old Belton man driving a Dodge pick-up truck swerved into their lane, hitting the couple's Honda SUV head-on.

Investigators arrested that driver for DUI and two counts involuntary manslaughter.

“I've got four kids and my oldest is a 16-year-old, just starting to drive. And it's a tough way to learn a lesson, but just please don't drink and drive,” said Hamp Henning.

While the loss the family now feels is immense, they know Nancy and Jack leave an impressive legacy that will impact many for years to come.

The Hennings are thankful for the outpouring of support in and around Loch Lloyd, where their parents lived.

Meanwhile, the driver who hit and killed them was taken to the hospital and will answer to the charges against him once released.