Couple recalls terrifying moment when they were nearly hit by wrong-way driver who later killed two people

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- Hailey Gray and her boyfriend Jacob Ripple are still traumatized from what they describe as a terrifying experience on southbound Interstate 29 early Thanksgiving morning.

“He wasn't swerving; he was just coming straight at me," said Gray, who thought her eyes were playing tricks on her when she saw headlights in her lane. "I thought that he was just trying to hit me. He looked like he was trying to hit somebody."

Ripple, who was in the passenger seat and not paying attention to the road, looked up just in time to see a dark SUV fly past them.

"It was terrifying,” Ripple said. “I mean, to think that it was so close 'cause it was three feet from us.”

Nelson Guzman and Norma Erazo

The wrong-way driver almost hit them on I-29 near the junction of Interstate 635. The SUV crashed about 10 miles down the interstate at Barry Road, killing 40-year-old Nelson Guzman and his longtime girlfriend Norma Erazo.

Police have not officially released the victims' names, but family members told Fox 4 Guzman and Erazo were the two killed in the crash.

“I feel kind of terrible about the couple that lost their lives,” Ripple said. “It's terrible. It shouldn't have happened."

Ripple called 911 at 12:41 a.m. For two minutes and 49 seconds, he said he was put on hold and transferred from Clay County’s 911 call center to the Platte County Sheriff's Office and then to Missouri Highway Patrol.

“When I call for an emergency, I shouldn't be put on hold, let alone transferred two different places,” Ripple said. “I feel like maybe if they would have done something, maybe they could have prevented that from happening."

It was eight minutes from the time Ripple called 911 to the time when the wrong-way driver killed Guzman and Erazo.

Police said the wrong way driver is a 30-year-old man who suffered moderate injuries.

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