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Kansas immigrant couple dies and nine hurt truck accident

A Kansas City pastor and his 36-year-old wife died recently in an early morning crash on Interstate 29. Reports said the van and truck accident occurred while the couple was accompanying a group of Burmese immigrants to jobs at Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, Missouri. The 42-year-old pastor was driving.

Interstate traffic was moving slowly because of an earlier collision just outside St. Joseph. Ten people were inside the passenger van when it struck a Lexus and veered into the back of an 18-wheeler. A fourth vehicle was damaged by debris.

State troopers said the eight surviving workers in the van suffered injuries. Investigators added that some of the passengers were badly hurt. Only the van driver had been wearing a seat restraint.

The 32-year-old Lexus driver also sustained injuries that police described as minor. The truck driver and occupants of the vehicle hit by debris escaped harm.

An official with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas said the agency helped the immigrants from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, settle in Kansas City. Many of the refugees who worked at the meat processing and packing plant lived in the same community.

The charity organization knew little about the couple who died in the crash. Officials familiar with the other Burmese refugees speculated that the pastor and his wife came to Kansas to be with relatives. The organization was uncertain whether the couple had children.

Surviving victims of the crash worked in entry-level positions at the meat packing plant, perhaps without the benefits of health insurance. The medical expenses for short and long-term treatment plus the burden of lost wages could be recovered through personal injury claims in a civil court.

Plaintiffs may be able to receive damages from the pastor's estate to help cover the economic losses they face. An attorney could advise the injured victims how to proceed to file a claim for compensation.

Source:  kansascity.com, "2 dead, 9 injured in crash that shut I-29 for five hours near St. Joseph" Glenn E. Rice, May. 09, 2013

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