OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Overland Park Police Department is investigating a crash that left one man dead Saturday night.
Investigators responded to westbound Interstate 435 where witnesses told officers a wrong-way driver entered the highway traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes and struck a vehicle.
After the impact, the vehicle continued westbound and collided with another vehicle that was traveling eastbound approaching Quivira Road.
The driver of the second vehicle, identified as Karl Wurtenberger of Independence, Missouri, was pronounced dead on the scene.
The driver of the truck, a 31-year-old from Lenexa, was hurt, and police took him into custody the night of the crash.
Overland Park police spokesman John Lacy would not speculate if the driver was impaired, but officers did several tests and are waiting for results.
“If the driver was paying attention to those signs, they would’ve known that they’d gone the wrong way,” Lacy said.
He said the pickup hit Wurtenberger head-on and killed him.
Family told FOX4 that Wurtenberger was a 42-year-old father of two from Independence. He loved the Royals and his three grandchildren.
Wurtenburger’s family said in a statement to FOX4:
“Karl was taken from us. We are grief-stricken and heartbroken. We do not know all the details, but we do know he was taken from us by a senseless act that could have been avoided. Love your people and tell them often, you never know when it will be your last.”
“My heart goes out to this family, especially this time of year,” Lacy said. “You don’t want to lose anyone period during any time of year, but especially when the holidays are coming up.”
One city is using new technology that could prevent this type of tragedy.
In Boston, transportation officials use a wrong-way detection system. If the system detects a driver going the wrong way, the sign will flash — alerting the driver.
Working for you, FOX4 asked the Kansas Department of Transportation if it’s aware of the detection system and if we need it in the Kansas City area.
“KDOT does not, that I’m aware of, have any wrong-way detection systems,” traffic engineer Sara Peters said. “We are always open to considering things.”
“This is the first time I’ve heard of that,” Lacy said, “but that would be very beneficial to the drivers here in Overland Park and the state of Kansas.”
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