LEAWOOD, Kan. (WDAF) – The driver of a tractor-trailer in Kansas told police he thought his vehicle felt “sluggish.” That’s because he’d been dragging a car that had crashed into him for eight miles.
It started early on Wednesday morning when a 28-year-old woman driving a compact Kia slid through a red light during snowy weather and slammed into the side of the truck, police said. The truck’s driver couldn’t see what had happened and continued through the intersection and onto the interstate.
A witness, Samarth Thakur, had been salting parking lots as the snow fell. He was sitting at the light when the accident happened.
“She was probably going 30-40 miles per hour, and the next thing you know, that car is just wedged underneath there,” said Thakur.
Thakur expected the truck driver to get out and see if the other driver was OK, but that didn’t happen.
“We heard a huge boom there was a loud bang and I thought he would have felt that or stopped, but he did not stop at all and just kept going,” said Thakur.
Video captured on a fellow driver’s phone shows the tractor-trailer moving through the intersection after the Kia Forte smashed into it, just in front of the passenger side’s rear wheels.
The truck then got on I-435 Westbound, dragging the car alongside it. Footage from cameras over I-435 shows the car being dragged down the interstate, its red taillights visible on the right of the truck.
At one point, another salt truck can be seen driving behind the tractor-trailer, flashing its lights to try to alert the semi driver.
“We were honking. I didn’t try to get in front, but my buddy did. We tried to roll our windows down slow him down and he was not getting our attention at all,” said Thakur.
Thakur said he could see the helpless woman moving inside and feared the worst.
“If she got unstuck from that spot she was, she could have gotten run over by those rear wheels. That car would’ve gotten smashed, I think,” he said.
After eight miles, police in Overland Park finally stopped the truck. Inside the Kia, they found the Kansas City woman stuck, with the roofline of her car partially collapsed.
A recording of the 911 dispatchers indicated the woman was conscious, though she said she couldn’t move or get out of the car.
She told police she’d left a bar and had been drinking, but believed she was able to safely drive, according to a police report.
As for the 70-year-old driver of the semi, he told police he thought he hit a curb, adding that his vehicle felt “sluggish” afterward.
The crash investigation remains active, police said.