Three people died and five others were at least seriously injured Friday afternoon when a suspected stolen blue Jeep fleeing Independence police at high speed crashed into a silver four-door Dodge at 23rd Street and Television Place, just west of Independence and east of Interstate 435.
Four people were in the Jeep and four were in the Dodge. As of about 5:30 p.m., according to Kansas City police, two people inside the Dodge and the Jeep's front-seat passenger, a man, had died – all pronounced dead at the scene.
The female driver of the Jeep was in serious condition but expected to survive, Sgt. Bill Mahoney said, and two other male passengers were in “extremely critical” condition. Two people from Dodge also were in critical condition, one of them with life-threatening injuries, police said.
Mahoney said KCPD did not yet know if the silver car was turning from eastbound 23rd Street onto Television Place or was passing through the intersection or turning from Television onto westbound 23rd. Police had not yet identified any other witnesses besides the occupants of the two vehicles, and IPD had lost sight of the suspect Jeep before the crash happened.
“We do know that the blue Jeep struck the silver Dodge at an angle,” Mahoney said, “which indicates the Dodge was passing through the intersection or had been eastbound and was making a left hand turn.”
Luis Virgil, public information officer for Independence police, said one of the department's “proactive two-man units” had spotted the Jeep, reported stolen Thursday in Independence, in the area of 23rd and Maywood – about 1.6 miles from the crash scene, according to Google maps.
The chase lasted not even a minute, Virgil said, indicating speeds close to 100 mph.
The IPD officers were requesting chase assistance from KCPD, lost sight of the Jeep, then came upon the crash scene. Virgil said police were familiar with some of the people in the Jeep, and gun that did not belong to the Jeep's owner was found in the back seat.
The accident happened shortly before rush hour, and eastbound 23rd bears more rush-hour traffic into Independence, but with 23rd Street blocked off at Blue Ridge Boulevard to the east and at I-435 to the west, traffic in the area was congested for a couple hours at the detour sites.