Highway patrol identifies 3 killed in Kansas semi crash

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy: Ashley Winkler Simmons Courtesy: Ashley Winkler Simmons
Courtesy: Ashley Winkler Simmons Courtesy: Ashley Winkler Simmons
Courtesy: Pratt Tribune Courtesy: Pratt Tribune
WELLSFORD, Kan. (KAKE) -

Authorities say three people have died after two semis collided head-on in southwest Kansas. 

The crash happened just after 7 a.m. Wednesday on Highway 54 near Wellsford in Kiowa County. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a westbound International truck crossed the center line and struck a Peterbilt truck. Both caught fire. 

The driver of the westbound semi, 55-year-old Gary Heald, and a passenger, 56-year-old Cheryl Thoma, died at the scene. The other truck driver, 38-year-old Justin Wise, was also killed. 

Heald and Thoma were from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and Wise was from Arkansas City, Kansas. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Wise's family.

The Pratt Tribune reports one trailer was empty, while the other was hauling pork products.

The highway was reopened late Wednesday afternoon, KDOT said. 

  • NEWSNewsMore>>

  • Portable charger explodes, gives local man second degree burns

    "It sounded like a twenty gauge shotgun going off...just flames and smoke," says Dennis Hellon. Just over 24 hours ago, Dennis Hellon was rushed to the hospital. "First and second degree burns all over my upper chest and neck and lower part of my face...Second degree burns on my eyelids and missing part of my lashes," he says. Hellon was at home working when out of no where, his portable charger started smoking. "It wasn't connected to anything. It was jus...

    "It sounded like a twenty gauge shotgun going off...just flames and smoke," says Dennis Hellon. Just over 24 hours ago, Dennis Hellon was rushed to the hospital. "First and second degree burns all over my upper chest and neck and lower part of my face...Second degree burns on my eyelids and missing part of my lashes," he says. Hellon was at home working when out of no where, his portable charger started smoking. "It wasn't connected to anything. It was jus...

  • KAKE NEWS INVESTIGATES: Solving the drug crisis

    KAKE NEWS INVESTIGATES: Solving the drug crisis

    Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive substances known to man.

    Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive substances known to man.

  • Wichita reveals new Triple-A baseball team name

    Wichita reveals new Triple-A baseball team name

    The name of Wichita's new Triple-A baseball team has been revealed. There was a lot of build-up on social media leading up to Wednesday night's public presentation at Wave. A series of potential names were gradually released like: Wichita Linemen, Doo-Dahs, and the 29ers Ultimately, the team's name will be the Wichita Wind Surge.  KAKE-TV
    The name of Wichita's new Triple-A baseball team has been revealed. There was a lot of build-up on social media leading up to Wednesday night's public presentation at Wave. A series of potential names were gradually released like: Wichita Linemen, Doo-Dahs, and the 29ers Ultimately, the team's name will be the Wichita Wind Surge.  KAKE-TV
  • SportsMore>>

  • Heights' Taylor Jameson signs to play at George Mason

    Heights' Taylor Jameson signs to play at George Mason

    Wednesday was the Fall Signing Day, meaning high school athletes across the country put pen to paper and made their college choices official. Over at Heights High School, Taylor Jameson signed her national letter of intent to go play basketball at George Mason.  

    Wednesday was the Fall Signing Day, meaning high school athletes across the country put pen to paper and made their college choices official. Over at Heights High School, Taylor Jameson signed her national letter of intent to go play basketball at George Mason.  

  • Athlete of the Week: Derby's Tre Washington

    Athlete of the Week: Derby's Tre Washington

    The Derby football program has seen countless talented players come through their program over the years. Running back Tre Washington is continuing the tradition. 

    The Derby football program has seen countless talented players come through their program over the years. Running back Tre Washington is continuing the tradition. 

  • Sneed scores 15, K-State rallies past Monmouth 73-54

    Sneed scores 15, K-State rallies past Monmouth 73-54

    Xavier Sneed had 15 points and six rebounds and led Kansas State to a 73-54 win over Monmouth Wednesday night. 

    Xavier Sneed had 15 points and six rebounds and led Kansas State to a 73-54 win over Monmouth Wednesday night. 

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE