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. 

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