One woman died in a wrong-way accident on Interstate 29, an initial incident that led to a secondary crash in the opposite lanes leading to massive backups.
Joy George, 79, of Platte City was pronounced dead at the scene Thursday, April 14 after her vehicle entered the southbound lanes of I-29 traveling north and striking another vehicle. Following the initial impact, two tractor trailers also struck George’s vehicle, leading to a large pileup that stretched from the median all the way across the both lanes of traffic.
The accident occurred just off of exit ramp 19, which awkwardly allows for two-way traffic for a large portion of the surface. Do not enter and wrong way signs can be clearly seen off of Vine Street, which has access to the ramp out of a residential neighborhood.
George was a longtime resident of Platte City and taught Sunday school at the First Baptist Church for more than 40 years. She had a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas and was a long-time member of the National Association of Social Workers and licensed in Kansas and Missouri.
Services were held for George on Tuesday, April 19.
The investigation into the cause of the accident continues. The other vehicle in the accident was also totaled with the driver suffering minor injuries. The semis suffered minor to moderate damage, and one of the drivers went to a local hospital with minor injuries.
The accident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. and shut down southbound traffic.
About 30 minutes later, a second crash occurred in the northbound lanes with vehicles slowing down due to the previous accident, which left one of the semis close to the shoulder of the northbound lanes. The second three-vehicle crash occurred when Peggy Cunning, 63, of St. Joseph, Mo. struck two vehicles stopped in the traffic backup.
Cunning and a 5-year-old female passenger both suffered serious injuries and were transported to Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph for treatment. A 32-year-old male in one of the other vehicles also suffered moderate injuries that required treatment, while the third vehicle was driven from the scene with minor damage.
Both accidents required rerouting traffic through Platte City and led to congestion along Highway 92. The southbound crash required all traffic headed that direction to exit at Highway 371, leading to a backup that stretched north to Dearborn on I-29.
The accidents were cleared in a period of about three hours. One lane opened up northbound shortly after the second crash, and all northbound lanes were reopened at about 3 p.m.
About 30 minutes later, the southbound lanes were reopened, although the backup needed additional time to thin out.