Fatal Accident on I-70

By  | 

All lanes of I-70 were closed for hours Monday as crews cleaned up the accident. Kansas Highway Patrol, Geary County officers and more than 40 firefighters responded the scene.
Now, officials are trying to piece together the events that caused the deadly crash, it happened just before 7:00a.m. this morning.
It all started when a cattle truck stalled on the westbound shoulder of I-70, nine miles east of Junction City.
"This is one of the worst, I've worked in law enforcement for 22 years and this is one of the worst accidents we've seen lately," says Garry Berges, Geary County Sheriff.
"Both of the vehicles subsequently ended up catching on fire," says Lt. Greg Harkrader of the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Now, there's nothing left of an 18-wheeler hauling paper products that crashed into the loaded cattle truck.
"We used approximately 45-50 firefighters," Berges says, "took us an hour to an hour and a half to get it contained with all the paper products and stuff."
The crash sparked a fire that engulfed both trucks, killed one of the drivers, and left a dozen cattle wondering the highway.
Officials say 6 or 7 died after the accident.
"There was about 80 head of cattle in that truck at the time of the accident," says Berges.
And the highway patrol called in CHART: its Critical Highway Accident Response Team to investigate the cause of the crash.
"They come and do a forensic diagram and some other investigative tools to figure out the cause of the accident," Harkrader says.
The semi-driver died at the scene.
Officials are not releasing that man's name and say they don't know whether ha was wearing a seatbelt.
The driver of the cattle truck, 36 year-old Troy Garrett of Martin, Tennessee was treated and released from an area hospital.
Officials say he was not wearing a seatbelt.
I-70 eastbound re-opened around 11:00 a.m. and westbound I-70 was closed until about 5:00 p.m. for the investigation.