5 injured in wreck near Topeka service area

Turnpike accident along I-70 at Topeka Rest Area
Turnpike accident along I-70 at Topeka Rest Area(Pete Popkess)
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:07 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Five people were transported with injuries from a multi-vehicle wreck on the Kansas Turnpike, authorities said Monday night.

The Kansas Highway Patrol updated numbers issued earlier in the evening. Among those injured, they say four were considered minor while one person was critical.

The crash happened just before 5 p.m. Monday between mile markers 186 and 188. The location is at the overpass ramps for the East Topeka service area, about four miles east of the Capital City. Authorities had closed all lanes between the East Topeka Toll Plaza and K-10 in West Lawrence. As of 7:45 p.m., the Kansas Turnpike Authority reported traffic was beginning to move slowly in both directions.

Alan Stahl said at least two tractor-trailer rigs were involved in the wreck, along with two passenger vehicles. He said one of the semis was hauling brick, while the other was transporting cellulose material.

Stahl says, at one point 25 different apparatuses (fire and AMR) were called to the crash scene. He said the main hazardous materials concern was the hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel between the two big rigs. As for the load of cellulose material, he said it burns very hot and liquifies as it burns, which creates concerns of fire spreading. He said Lawrence-Douglas Co. Fire crews were assisting with the fire suppression efforts.

KHP said westbound lanes had reopened Monday night, but eastbound drivers were being diverted through the East Topeka Service Area.

Authorities also expected road crews to continue inspecting for any damage done to the road or service area overpasses that might require further repairs.

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