Platte City woman killed in 47-car accident on I-70

Linda and James Henderson

Linda and James Henderson

A Platte City woman was killed and her husband was seriously injured in a 47-car pileup in Jackson County.

The accident occurred in near ‘whiteout’ conditions on Interstate 70 near Oak Grove.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol report lists 11 vehicles in the crash that sustained damage at mile marker 29.1, which took the life of Linda K. Henderson, 73. 

Her husband, James L. Henderson, 74, suffered serious injuries in the accident and is still at Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence.

The GoFundPage created in the aftermath provided an update on James, who had serious injuries to his neck, back, ribs and head. An update on the page on Monday, Feb. 18 stated James was having surgery on his back and neck.

The Henderson’s daughter posted on Facebook on Tuesday, Feb. 19, that her father had not woken up and was still in the ICU following a 14-hour surgery.

The GoFundMe Page raised more than $7,500 of the $10,000 goal in three days, with 216 donors as of Tuesday, Feb. 19.

The couple had been married for 56 years.

“We are incredibly grateful for the enormous amount of love, support and prayers we have received from all over the country,” the Henderson family said in a statement released by Centerpoint. “As we mourn the loss of such an amazing woman, we also know we have a long road ahead. With the great care he is receiving, the love and prayers of others, we have faith that he will have a strong recovery. We also ask for your understanding to respect our privacy as we deal with this event, and so we can stay focused on caring for and being here for our father.”

A family friend told a local TV station the couple was on the way home from a cruise. 

Linda Henderson was remembered for her work as a Girl Scout leader, not only for her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

 “Linda was an incredible Girl Scout alum and volunteer,” chief brand and marketing officer for Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri Gina Garvin said in a statement to 41 Action News. “Many people would say, if you needed to survive outdoors, you had to have Linda by your side. She trained countless other volunteers as they supported girls in the outdoors and certainly built the confidence in girls for outdoor experiences.”

The accident started when Marlon C. Davis, 44, of Washington Park, Ill., driving a 2012 Peterbilt tractor-trailer rig, lost control driving westbound on I-70 on the snow-covered road. His rig traveled off the left side of the road and came to rest partially blocking the highway. 

James Henderson, driving a 2016 Ford Escape, then struck the rear of a trailer.

That in turn led to a 2013 Dodge Ram, driven by Steve C. Homfeld, 50, of Higginsville, striking the passenger side of the Henderson’s vehicle. That is where Linda Henderson was sitting.

Others involved in the accident included a 2019 Nissan Altima driven by Timothy O. Hite, 70, of The Villages, Fla., who struck Homfeld’s vehicle, as well as a 2006 Nissan Xterra driven by Bradley A. Taylor, 39, of Independence, and a 2019 Toyota Avalon, 57, of Toni L. Hawley, of Warrensburg.

Andrea J. Free, 63, of Farmers Branch, Texas, struck Homfeld’s truck and then Hite’s car. Free’s car then struck a 2015 Buick Encore driven by Lori L. Vega, 59, of Kansas City, Kan. 

Also involved in the accident was a 2002 Ford F250 driven by Terry D. Sanchez, 72, of Holt, Mo., a 2014 GMC Sierra, driven by John A. Sanchez, 32, of Griffin., Ga., and a another tractor-trailer rig, driven by Roger N. Luedeman, 58, of Concordia, Mo.

Linda Henderson was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:47 a.m. —  17 minutes after the accident. Her body was taken to the Jackson County medical examiner’s office. It marked the 15th fatality for Troop A this year.

Also injured were Free and Brenda G. Homfelt, 54, of Higginsville. Both had minor injuries and were transported by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital in Blue Springs.

A celebration of life for Linda Henderson will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 at Vineyard Church at 12300 NW Arrowhead Trafficway in Kansas City. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Girls Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri. Interment will take place at a later date at the Platte City Cemetery.

Those wishing to send a card to James and the family can mail it to the family at P.O. Box 932, Platte City, Mo. 64079.