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‘My heart hurts’: KC family grieves after young dad killed in wrong-way crash on I-435

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The family of an Independence man killed in a wrong-way crash on I-435 this week is speaking out against drunk drivers and seeking justice.

"My heart hurts. My heart hurts," Carolyn Barnes said as she cried with her family Friday.

Barnes got a call from her son's girlfriend early Monday with news that broke her heart and stole her first-born.

"I said, 'What, what?' I couldn't even think straight," Barnes said. "She thought it was an April Fools joke. We was hoping it was -- and it wasn't."

Danzel Campbell was killed in a wrong way crash on I-435 near 87th Street on the Missouri side.

Naquita Williams

Police said the driver of the other vehicle, Naquita Williams, was traveling in the wrong direction down the highway. Williams hit Campbell's Ford Fusion head-on, and the 26-year-old died from his injuries, according to police.

Court documents say police detected the smell of intoxicants and Williams' eyes were watery, bloodshot and glassy. Her speech was slurred and a test indicated she was impaired, according to police.

"All I know is she just took a big chunk out of my heart, out of everybody's heart," Barnes said. "I never thought I'd have to bear feeling this pain."

Campbell leaves behind a big extended family and a 7-month-old baby girl named Daniyla who he won't get to see turn one.

"She loves her daddy, and that's all she say is 'Daddy,'" said Latrice Rea Rogers, Campbell's girlfriend. "That was her first word."

Danzel Campbell, right, and his girlfriend Latrice Rea Rogers with their daughter

Rogers said the night before the crash, Campbell rocked his little girl to sleep for the last time.

"He was like, 'I always wanted to be a daddy,' and just to hear her say it and he ain't here," Rodgers said. "It's just like, dang. It hurts."

As Daniyla grows up, Rodgers said she'll keep Campbell's memory alive through his pictures and music videos.

Like Campbell did through his music, Barnes wants to send a message to anyone thinking about drinking and driving.

"Just please do not get behind the wheel if you know you cannot do it," Barnes said.

She also wants to send a message to the woman accused of killing him: "I do forgive the lady because I'm a child of God, and I know God got my baby," Barnes said. "I know he do."

Services for Campbell will be April 12. A GoFundMe has been set up to help family with expenses.

Williams is currently being held in the Jackson County Jail on $250,000 bond. She was also convicted in July 2016 for driving under the influence in Jackson County.

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