After Kansas brothers win football state championship, car crash kills boys’ mother, sister and uncle

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SABETHA, Kan. -- Sabetha High School's football team can't truly celebrate its state championship after a deadly crash shook the team -- and an entire town -- just hours after Saturday's win.

The Ukele family was headed home from watching their sons Tanner and Carson win the state championship when they were involved in a fatal crash at about 8 p.m. about a half-mile north of where U.S. 75 intersects with 318th Road, the Highway Patrol reported.

Maria D. Perez-Marquez, 48, of Omaha, Neb., was driving a 2008 Equinox SUV southbound. Carmen Ukele was driving north in a 2008 Town & Country minivan.

Perez-Marquez tried to pass another southbound vehicle. When she realized she wasn't going to make it, she swerved onto the shoulder to avoid Ukele, according to WIBW in Topeka.

But Ukele also swerved onto the shoulder to avoid the SUV coming at her, and the two vehicles collided head-on. Both vehicles came to a rest on the shoulder.

Ukele, her 11-year-old daughter Marlee Ukele and Marlee's uncle Stephen Ukele died in the crash.

Perez-Marquez and her passenger, 29-year-old Rosalao G. Perez of St. Joseph, were airlifted to the University of Kansas Hospital. So was Carmen Ukele's husband Lee Ukele. The Capital-Journal reported he was in stable condition on Sunday after undergoing surgeries.

The Highway Patrol described the injuries Perez-Marquez and her passenger sustained as "disabling."

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