Community grieves loss of popular Lee’s Summit businessman and 2 family members

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Many are grieving Wednesday after learning that a popular businessman and two members of his family died in a car crash.

56-year-old Mark Groom owned and operated Groom’s Appliance and Heating and Cooling in Lee’s Summit for nearly 30 years.

Friends tell FOX 4 that Mark Groom and his wife, Kelli, were taking their three grandchildren on a vacation to see Colorado. Also traveling with them in their Chevy suburban was Kelli’s father, 85-year-old Richard Nieweg.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, the suburban cut off another vehicle while traveling west on I-70. The SUV went off into a ditch before spinning around and crossing both lanes of traffic. The vehicle rolled several times before coming to rest in the median.

Longtime friends of the Grooms say the deaths are a tremendous loss to the community.

“They are just great people,” said Bill Eason, a longtime friend of the family. “You call for service and Kelli would answer the phone, and in about 3 our 4 hours somebody would show up.”

Mark and Kelli died in the crash, along with Nieweg. Mark’s nephew told FOX 4 the three grandchildren: two six-year-olds and a 10-year-old, are being treated at a hospital in Wichita, where their parents are with them.

Family friends say one of the children is having surgery today for multiple fractures. Many in Lee’s Summit say this couple would do anything for anyone in need.