- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A semi-trailer truck driver from Colorado pleaded no contest Friday to five counts of vehicular homicide for hitting three vehicles on the Kansas Turnpike in 2017, killing two people from Illinois and three from Kansas.

Kenny Ford, 59, of Greeley, Colorado, entered his plea to the misdemeanor charges with no agreement on his potential sentence, The Kansas City Star reported. He will be sentenced March 20.

On July 17, 2017, Ford failed to notice a traffic backup ahead of him on Interstate 70 near Bonner Springs and hit an SUV driven by Teresa Butler, 61, of Urbana, Illinois, police said. Butler and a passenger, Karen Lynn Kennedy, 63, of New Palestine, Illinois, died.

Ford’s truck then hit a car driven by 83-year-old Sheldon Cohen of Topeka, killing him and his wife, Virginia Cohen, 79.

Ford’s 2015 Freightliner then collided with a vehicle driven by Ricardo Mireles, 38, from Topeka, who died when his car was pushed underneath another tractor-trailer and caught fire.

Ford has not explained why he didn’t stop in time. His attorney, Ben Casad, said Ford was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said.

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