Driver for nonprofit killed, another injured in head-on collision on Raytown Road

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A head-on collision killed two people and injures two others Thursday morning.

Police said a Chrysler Pacifica veered into the oncoming lane and hit a transport passenger van for people with disabilities. It happened around 8 a.m. on Raytown Road near Interstate 470.

The van driver was sent to the hospital, and one of the passengers died. Police say the driver of the Pacifica was also killed in the collision.

The transport van that was hit in the crash is owned by the nonprofit Eitas, which stands for “empowering individuals through advocacy and support.” The organization assists 500 people who live with disabilities each day to get to jobs, volunteer work, appointments or day programs.

After the crash, one of their drivers is seriously injured, and another died in the crash.

“We’ve had accidents before, but nothing to this magnitude and never a fatality,” Eitas executive director Jake Jacobs said. “I was really shocked. We have a close family here, and everyone here cares for everyone else because we not only support people in the community, we support one another very closely as well.”

He said the two women were working together, taking a woman who uses a wheelchair to her day program.

“It just was such a shock,” Jacobs said “I’m still trying to cope with it and trying to understand, especially this time of year. It’s such a tragedy to happen around the holiday season. My heart goes out to both families, and we’ll be working with them to do anything we can to help them out.”

He said the driver of the van has been with the company five months and is doing OK.

“She’s doing well, and she’s conscious and seems to be doing fine,” Jacobs said. “We don’t know the extent of her injuries, but they are running tests, and her family is with her right now.”

He said the woman in the wheelchair was taken to the hospital, but was OK. The woman killed in the crash was with the company five years and was loved throughout the nonprofit.

“I think she loved it very much,” Jacobs said. “She was a very caring person. Everybody liked her, and it’s such a tragedy to know that she’s gone now.”

Police have not released the identities of the two victims at this time.

Jacobs said their driver will be missed very much, and he knows the passengers on her route will feel the loss. The nonprofit will have a counselor on-hand for employees on Friday.

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