3 people dead after crash west of Pratt; resident says crashes happen often
PRATT, Kan. (KAKE) - Three people are dead Tuesday after a crash west of Pratt in a construction zone. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a woman and two kids from Wichita were killed, and the woman crashed into the back of a semi-truck that was stopped just west of Pratt on Highway 54.
KHP says an SUV rear-ended a semi-truck that was stopped in a construction zone, which caused the deaths of 32-year-old Lilia Barajas and two children.
Investigators say Barajas, from Wichita, and the two kids were related.
“It's tragic, it's tragic. West of town it was backed up for miles this afternoon,” said Kyle Irvin.
Irvin lives just blocks away from where the fatal crash happened Tuesday morning.
"It's typical to have them out here on the highway, when you live right along the highway you do hear and see them a lot," said Irvin.
"Our goal is to try to prevent more of these from happening. It's very very unfortunate to have any type of injury let alone multiple fatalities in a car crash out here,” said Trooper Chad Crittenden, with The Kansas Highway Patrol.
KHP says the woman wasn't wearing a seat belt. Also, there is no indication she tried to stop before hitting the semi-truck.
“We live here and we didn't even know that they were starting construction out that way. I did see the cones, but I wasn't aware if the cones were for construction,” said Irvin.
So what is Irvin’s message to people driving through?
“Just slow down, it's not a speed race right there,” said Irvin.
The semi-truck driver wasn't hurt. Highway 54 was closed for about four hours.