Friend remembers metro man killed in wrong-way crash on I-35 in Merriam

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MERRIAM, Kan. — One person was killed early Saturday morning after the driver of a vehicle was traveling the wrong way on Interstate 35 and struck another vehicle.

It happened just after 2:30 a.m. in the northbound lanes of I-35 at 67th Street. 

The Kansas Highway Patrol and Merriam police are now investigating if the wrong-way driver was impaired. 

The victim has been identified as 34-year-old Andrew A. Hixson, of Mission.

Investigators said a driver was going the wrong way on northbound I-35 and hit Hixson’s car head-on.

“It was just kind of a bombshell,” Hixson’s friend Aaron Vaught said.

Shock, anger and confusion. Vaught can’t believe his friend of more than six years is gone just like that. 

According to Trooper Tiffany Bush, a person was reportedly driving south in the northbound lanes of the interstate from 18th Street.

The driver of the wrong-way vehicle was injured in the crash and taken to a hospital.

“I kind of went through all the things. Kind of some anger because I know he wasn’t the one at fault. There was someone that was doing something crazy. So, I guess that’s kind of a question mark,” Vaught said. “What happened?”

The Kansas Highway Patrol is trying to figure that out. 

“I try not to be too angry and forgive,” Vaught said.

Vaught said he will focus on their friendship and memories, like their group trip to Mexico. 

Hixson’s positive energy is what he’ll miss most. 

“He was funny, charismatic, just an awesome guy to be around,” Vaught said. “If you’re going, out doing something, you want Andrew there.”

Hixson could read a room and knew what people needed. Vaught said they had countless conversations about the importance of personal growth in business and life.

“If you needed to have a really good, deep conversation about something, or you needed a smile put on your face,” Vaught said.

Vaught hopes these memories bring Hixson’s family peace.

KHP said the toxicology results are in progress and the Merriam Police Department is handling that portion. 

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

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