Drag racing suspected in Independence, Mo. accident

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A driver going way too fast lost control of his car and slammed into an Independence Animal Control Officer on Thursday.

The wreck happened around 1:30 pm on Truman Road near 291 Highway.

The suspected cause of the accident is drag racing. The woman caught in the middle is Animal Control Officer Laura Vaughn.

She's now suffering minor injuries. The driver who hit her is in bad shape, Vaughn says..

Vaughn spends the majority of her days in her Independence Animal Control truck. Thursday she was traveling westbound on Truman Road when she saw a fast moving car coming towards her.

"I had just enough time to brace myself for impact," Vaughn told FOX 4.

The small Honda crossed two lanes of traffic, slamming into her twice from the impact.

"When I had got out. There was stuff everywhere. Then entire drivers side of my truck, the 3 cages and the one storage area, all the doors had flung open. So everything that was in my truck was all over the ground," she described.

No animals were in Vaughn's truck at the time so she jumped out to help the injured driver.

Vaughn says the teenage driver was "yelling and screaming."

Witnesses say the teenager was going at least 70 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone. They also say the driver was racing another car.

"Somebody from work called and said that, the boy is paralyzed and he had back surgery like 6 hours ago," she said.

Vaughn says she's not angry with the driver.

"I can't be mad at him. Accidents happen. Can we prevent them, absolutely," she said.

In fact she says she feels sorry.

"I feel sorry for him. I hate that a teenage boy has to learn a lesson like this," she said.

Vaughn says if there were a controlled environment for drivers to race, like the now closed KCI Raceway, perhaps no one would take to the streets to race.

"When KCIR went under, they don't have anywhere to go anywhere so they are just, now it's even more reckless," she said.

Independence Police said there was no one available to speak with us today, only saying the accident is still under investigation.

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