Couple injured after hitting tractor-trailer

Sunday, April 30, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:22 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

The driver of a late-model Buick LeSabre was apparently unable to stop in time before plowing into the back of a tractor trailer stopped or slowed in westbound traffic on a rain-soaked Interstate 70 about a mile east of the Route Z exit, officials said.

The accident, which occurred early Saturday evening, was the second on that section of I-70 involving a passenger vehicle and a tractor-trailer in as many days.

Rainy conditions that limited visibility may have contributed to the crash, said Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp of the Boone County Fire Protection District. It occurred as troopers were directing traffic around an earlier accident.

“As the truck topped the hill, he found he came to traffic that had stopped or slowed, and so he was stopping very hard,” Blomenkamp said. “Apparently the car behind him was unable to get stopped and ran into the back end of the tractor-trailer.”

Traffic was backed-up in the area because of a fender-bender about half a mile further down the interstate, Blomenkamp said. He described the two accidents as “a chain reaction-type situation.”

Blomenkamp said the gray Buick’s two passengers, an elderly couple, were taken to University Hospital with what he described as moderate injuries.

“They were both alert, oriented and conscious,” he said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Allen Zwingle, said he was on his way from Joplin to Lawrence, Kan., to deliver push-mowers to a Kmart when the accident occurred. He said he had been traveling at 63 miles an hour when he was forced to come to a stop.

“I felt the impact,” Zwingle said. “Everything just went forward.”

Zwingle said he would probably go to a truck stop to examine his tractor trailer before continuing on to Lawrence.

Missourian reporter Zara Scribner contributed to this report.

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