3 killed in U.S. 75 wreck identified

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - An attempted pass on a Jackson Co. highway turned deadly Saturday night when the driver's SUV collided with an oncoming minivan, killing three people, including an 11-year-old girl, investigators say.

On Sunday, the Kansas Highway Patrol released new details about the crash just north of Holton. According to the agency's crash log, Maria Perez-Marquez was heading south on U.S. 75 around 8 p.m. when she tried to pass another vehicle near the 318 Road intersection, just north of Holton.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, that's when the 48-year-old woman realized she wasn't going make it passed and tried swerving her 2008 Chevrolet Equinox onto the shoulder. The driver on the oncoming vehicle's driver, Carmen Ukele, of Sabetha, though, dove for the same shoulder and her 2008 Chrysler Town & Country collided head-on with the SUV.

Ukele was killed in the crash, as were two of her passengers, 11-year-old Marlee Ukele, and 62-year-old Stephen Ukele, the Kansas Highway Patrol said. A fourth person in the minivan, Lee Ukele, 59, was injured in the collision and was flown via Life Star to KU Hospital in Kansas City.

Perez-Marquez, of Omaha, Nebraska, and her passenger, Rosalao Perez, 29, of St. Joseph, Missouri, were both injured in the crash. They were also flown from the scene by Life Star helicopters and both ended up at KU Hospital as well.

Authorities closed U.S. 75 from K-20 to K-9 highway for around 8 hours while they investigated the scene. The highway did not open again until approximately 4 a.m.