MIAMI COUNTY, Kan. - Two people were killed in a crash on Kansas Highway 68 in Miami County Monday morning but witnesses tell 41 Action News it could have been prevented if law enforcement was available and nearby.
“I was thinking he is going to go to the right, roll over and hit a car,” said Darla Hines, who witnessed the crash. “I just knew it was not going to end well. I mean, we knew something bad was going to happen.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol’s crash report, 42-year-old Samuel Deal was driving a Ford Edge west on the highway around 6:15 a.m. when he crossed into oncoming traffic at the intersection of Block Road and struck a Toyota Corolla heading east.
The collision killed Deal and 24-year-old Tiffany Maimer. KHP said neither were wearing seat belts.
“It was horrible. We pulled over real fast and I jumped out of my car to her and my son went to the man because his car was on fire,” said Hines, who followed Deal and his Ford Edge from D Highway 68 Highway because he was “driving erratically.”
He was driving “back and forth across both lanes onto the right shoulder, onto the left shoulder,” she said.
Call logs show Hines first spoke to dispatchers in Cass County. The Cass County Sheriff's Department told 41 Action News deputies were already responding to accident and burglary calls so no one was available.
Dispatchers then transferred Hines to the Missouri Highway Patrol, who told 41 Action News there was no trooper in a position to intercept the car.
But Hines was not the only driver on the road to call police.
Timothy Lopez also called 911 when he encountered Deal on the Kansas side, driving towards Louisburg on 68 Highway.
“I had seen him swerving all over the place. I actually saw him go into a ditch,” Lopez told 41 Action News. “They said they already had reports and they were dispatching a unit out there.”
The Kansas Highway Patrol confirmed to 41 Action News that Deal’s car was called in for “erratic driving.” However, it is unknown if troopers or Miami County Sheriff deputies were sent to intercept the car.
“Nobody wants to lose a child. I feel for the family and I’m very frustrated nothing was done,” said Maimer.
The police agencies 41 Action News spoke with said they do their best to respond to 911 calls. Additionally, they said officers receive dozens of “erratic driver” calls on a daily basis.