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Five survive fatal Kansas crash near Fort Scott

Seven out-of-state residents including an 8-year-old girl were involved in a multivehicle traffic accident south of Kansas City. One driver was unhurt. Two people died in the recent auto accident. Four others were hospitalized with minor to serious injuries.

No conclusions were drawn about the three-vehicle collision on U.S. Highway 69 near Fort Scott. The accident investigation by Kansas Highway Patrol remains open. Troopers suggested speeding or wet weather conditions might have been factors.

According to reports, the 61-year-old driver of a southbound Chevy Trailblazer glanced off the side of a northbound Chevy HHR. The impact spun the Trailblazer into a Jeep Patriot on the southbound highway.

The man driving the Jeep and a female passenger in the HHR, both 31, were killed in the crash. The Trailblazer driver was unhurt. His 33-year-old male was released after treatment of nonserious injuries.

A 31-year-old man and a child in the HHR along with a female Jeep passenger were hospitalized with what reports called "disabling injuries." All three were later transferred to other medical facilities in Missouri.

Possible family relationships among the victims were not included in police and published reports.

Investigators are likely to concentrate efforts on the actions of the uninjured driver in the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the vehicle that touched off the fatal crash. Troopers will want to know why the driver lost control. The answer could determine fault and whether criminal charges are filed.

Physical evidence was collected. Survivors and witnesses will be interviewed about what occurred before and during the accident. The totaled vehicles will undergo inspection. Blood tests will show whether drivers were impaired.

Civil actions are not dependent upon the filing of criminal cases after an accident. Surviving crash victims and families retain the right to petition a court for wrongful death and personal injury damages. The primary evidence in a liability case is negligence, whether or not a crime is committed.

Source: fstribune.com, "Two people killed in three-vehicle wreck," Jason E. Silvers, March 26, 2013

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