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Fire, accident causes congestion on Interstate 70

August 24, 2014
A tractor-trailer fire and an an accident within a 3-mile span Sunday afternoon caused traffic on Interstate 70 in both directions to logjam.

Shortly before 3 p.m., a westbound truck on I-70 carrying cooking grease caught fire, spilling the grease onto the westbound driving lane near exit 300 (U.S. 40/K-57/Council Grove). Both westbound lanes of I-70 were closed to traffic while crews battled the fire, which took more than two hours Sunday afternoon. Traffic was rerouted onto Flint Hills Boulevard while the lanes were closed, and was allowed to re-enter I-70 at exit 299 (J-Hill Road).

Roughly 30 minutes later, Geary County Sheriff's Department officers responded to a 2-vehicle accident near milepost 301. Officials said Andrya Maertz, of Junction City, was traveling west when she rear-ended a car driven by Cornelia Carageo, of Denton, Texas.

One person suffered head and ankle injuries in that accident and was transported to Geary Community Hospital, and a second suffered minor injuries. A third person was transported to Stormont-Vail Medical Center by LifeStar, but the extent of that person's injuries was unknown. Interstate 70 westbound was closed in the area of MP 302 shortly before 4 p.m. to allow LifeStar to land.

Kansas Department of Transportation officials said Monday afternoon the right-hand lane remains closed in the area of exit 300 to allow officials to remove the spilled grease from the highway. The passing (left-hand) lane remains open to traffic, however.

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