A Texas man died as a result of the crash; his wife and the semi driver are reported in good condition Friday morning at Salina Regional Health Center.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said Martin L. Bal, 67, Pointbreak, Texas, and Joan C. Bal, 72, also of Pointbreak, Texas, were sleeping inside the recreational vehicle when the 2007 Peterbilt semi driven by John R. Boteler, 68, Shelby, Ind., entered the eastbound rest area at a high rate of speed The semi collided with the back of the 2010 Ford motor home, which was parked at a curb.
Martin Bal died following the 12:51 p.m. Thursday crash. A spokesman for Salina Regional said Friday morning Joan Bal and John Boteler had been admitted and both were in good condition.
Technical trooper Benjamin Gardner said the impact from the crash caused the motor home to catch fire. He said people at the rest stop were able to remove the semi driver and the sleeping couple, who were in the very back of their motor home.
“Multiple people were involved in getting them out,” he said.
Responders from several area fire departments including Salina County Fire District #5, Solomon Fire Department and Abilene Fire Department were called to the scene, which is just west of the Dickinson County line.
Eastbound I-70 was also closed for a short time following the crash because of concern smoke from the fire was carrying fumes coming from dangerous chemicals being hauled by the semi. Gardner said responders were able to determine the chemicals in the semi trailer were flammable but not dangerous.
“The interstate was reopened once they (firefighters) knocked the fire down,” Gardner said.