Bizzarre crash starts on I-29, ends with overturned car in stream

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo A Hyundai Sonata driven by William Sluder, 44, of Platte City, Mo. can be seen laying on its side in a drainage ditch off of Interstate 29, near mile marker 17 just south of the Highway 92, following a one-vehicle accident Thursday, May 14. Sluder apparently drove off the right side of the road and behind the guardrail before going airborne into the stream. A Platte City, Mo. man apparently drove behind the guard rail after leaving the roadway on northbound Interstate 29 in a one-vehicle accident still under investigation.The crash occurred just before 3:30 p.m., on Thursday, May 14, and more than a dozen emergency vehicles blocked off the right lane of traffic for more than an hour while rescue workers extricated the driver, 44-year-old William Sluder. A tow truck crew began removing the vehicle from a drainage ditch located just south of the Highway 92 exit more than two hours after witnesses first reported the incident to authorities.

According to a witness on the scene, she was driving behind the black Hyundai Sonata when the vehicle veered off of I-29 without braking or steering to correct. The car apparently continued at full speed, estimated at more than 70 miles per hour by those on the scene, and missed a group of trees before going airborne and coming to rest on its side in a stream of water near a concrete drainage culvert that runs underneath the interstate.

No damage was visible to the guardrail.

“I kept thinking, ‘Did he just do that?’” said the female witness, a registered nurse who turned around at Highway 92 and returned to the scene to await and potentially assist emergency crews.

Just before 4 p.m., workers finally emerged from behind the guardrail, carrying Sluder on a stretcher and placing him on a gurney. An ambulance transported him to North Kansas City Hospital with what were believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

Initial reports indicated there were two people in the wayward vehicle, but Sluder was determined to be the driver and lone occupant.

The vehicle could be seen with its roof cut open in the narrow ditch, a drop of more than 10 feet from the spot where it went airborne. A pink child’s safety seat was located in the back seat.

A copy of the accident report still had not been released as of Tuesday evening, but a Platte County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said that the investigation into the cause of the crash, including the potential of DWI, was ongoing. No charges had been filed.