TOPEKA (KSNT) – After a major Monday crash with fire and toxic fumes on I-70 sent five people to the hospital, one of the crash victims is opening up about what happened that day.
Jennifer Loy was returning back home to Topeka after a mother-daughter shopping trip with her daughter Emily.
“I remember looking at the clock at 4:42 thinking we had plenty of time for her to make her soccer practice,” Loy said.
The crash happened around 4:45 p.m. near the Topeka Service Area on I-70, and involved two passenger cars and two semi-trailers, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. As Loy was driving back on I-70, she saw a semi-truck move erratically in the eastbound lane.
“It looked like it was making a sudden sharp left-hand turn toward the median,” Loy said. “I immediately screamed for my daughter and tried to get over as far and fast as I could. Emily and I both remember seeing and hearing the impact of the semi on the median as pieces erupted onto us.”
KHP’s investigation into the wreck confirmed what the Loys saw, but that semi crashed before a second truck hit the Loys’ car. Crash logs reported the 73-year-old driver of the first semi-truck lost control, crossed two lanes of traffic, hit the barrier wall, went up and over and then blocked the left lane of westbound traffic. The crash pinned another passenger car separate from the Loys’ under that truck. A second semi ran into the first semi’s trailer, and then hit the Loys’ car before crashing into the barrier wall.
The force sent the pair spinning, and the impact of the median and semi-truck made it feel like it lasted forever as they spun, according to Loy.
“I know it was only seconds, but it felt like we would never come to a stop,” Loy said. “At that time I didn’t have any thoughts, just one prayer: ‘God, please let my daughter be ok.'”
She said that was the longest-lasting pain of the accident. By the time they had stopped, her car was sticking straight up in the air on its nose against the highway median. Loy said people immediately rushed to help them. She said she cannot put into words the amount of gratitude she has for the people that comforted them that day.
“Once I had Emily in my arms and looked up at the car, I realized just how big of a miracle God performed for us,” Loy said.
Loy said she and her daughter have minor injuries like bumps and bruises from the crash, but as a nurse, she knows most people do not walk away from a wreck this tragic.
“God is so good, and my daughter and I will always celebrate August 2nd as the day the Lord saved us,” Loy said.
Both Loy and her daughter were released from Saint Francis Hospital in Topeka around 11:30 p.m. on Monday night. They told KSNT News they are recovering safely at home.
Multiple agencies responded to the crash, including the Topeka Fire Department who had two fire engines and a hazmat team go to the scene. They spent hours containing the fire and toxic smoke that started in the crash.
The crash shut down varying parts of I-70 for around five hours Monday evening. Photos from the early stages of the crash showed KHP troopers, Shawnee County sheriff’s deputies and KTA crews turning eastbound cars off of I-70 through an emergency exit and onto Shawnee Heights Road to U.S. Highway 40.
Emergency crews initially had all cars avoid the burnt entrance ramp to the Topeka Service Area, and westbound traffic diverted through the rest stop’s parking lot to get past the crash scene.
Traffic was backed up at least two miles, according to a KSNT News reporter on scene.
No one has died as of Wednesday in the aftermath of the crash, but KHP reported in its crash logs that all of the car and semi occupants in the crash, including the Loys, had suspected serious injuries.