Man sees multiple I-70 'suicide curve' crashes

Posted at 10:04 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 23:28:31-04

Two crashes caught on camera this week are bringing attention to the dangers of an area of I-70 known as "suicide curve."

Both accidents happened on Sunday during rainy weather, one involving a tractor-trailer that overturned and another involving a car that slammed into a wall.

The area known as "suicide curve" has sharp turns going both east and westbound on I-70, and is located near the Strawberry Hill district and Kansas River.

Leo Eilts is the man who caught the accidents on camera. He has lived in KCK for 10 years and says he sees about half a dozen crashes a year from his home in the Strawberry Hill district.

"It's like the Indianapolis 500, except with bigger cars," he explained.

Using a camera set up in his office, Eilts has captured multiple crashes over the last year.

One from January shows a white car going fast into the curve, slamming into a wall, and then rolling over multiple times.

John Rebeck, who lives near Eilts, said drivers need to slow down.

"People are just traveling too fast for the conditions," he said. "They're supposed to be doing 35 and they're probably doing 45 or 50."

Eilts also said "suicide curve" presents challenges for emergency crews responding to accidents. Due to a lack of exits and accessibility on the interstate, emergency crews have to drive the opposite way to get to the scene of an accident. Eilts said the issue can add five to 10 minutes to an emergency response.

"Just because you have to go over there and come back, that could be the difference between life or death," Eilts explained.

Ever since he started capturing the accidents on camera, Eilts said he has been writing letters and sending the clips to the Kansas Department of Transportation. He has yet to hear back on the problems, but he hopes renovations happen soon.

In the meantime, he said drivers should take far more caution when driving around "suicide curve."

"People need to be retrained I guess," he said. "There needs to be more awareness, more signs, and more warnings."

Multiple calls to KDOT were not returned.



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