Wrong-way driver dies in Kennedy Freeway crash; woman and 2-year-old son seriously injured

A motorist driving the wrong way on the Kennedy Freeway in Sarpy County died early Saturday when his car slammed into a sport utility vehicle, authorities said.

A woman and her 2-year-old son in the SUV were seriously injured in the 3 a.m. collision in a southbound lane about a half-mile south of Childs Road.

Juan Pablo Muro, 32, of Lexington was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt north in the southbound lanes when he struck a 2006 Buick Rendezvous, the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office said.

Muro was pronounced dead at the scene.

His was the fourth death in a vehicle crash on the Kennedy Freeway in 13 days.

The SUV was driven by Maricela Gonzalez, 32, of Bellevue. She and her son were taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Gonzalez was listed in good condition Saturday evening, a hospital spokeswoman said. The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office did not release the child’s name. It said Saturday afternoon that the boy was in serious condition.

Sarpy County dispatchers had asked Bellevue police to check a report that a vehicle was driving the wrong way on the Kennedy Freeway. Police were on the way when dispatchers received a call reporting the collision.

The first Kennedy Freeway fatal crash this year occurred in Omaha on Jan. 1, killing Ann Smock. Her 2016 Chevrolet Spark was northbound in a lane that connects the freeway and L Street when it was struck by a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Vismar Carmona-Martinez, police have said.

After striking the rear of the Spark, the Malibu caromed across two northbound lanes of the freeway and struck a concrete barrier. Carmona-Martinez was charged with felony motor vehicle homicide.

In the second, on Jan. 5, two people were killed when a tow truck crashed into two vehicles stopped along the Kennedy Freeway in Bellevue.

Khalil Jones and Shamus Dean died and two other people were critically injured. The crash occurred on the edge of the freeway’s southbound lanes at the Chandler Road exit.

Jones’ Pontiac G6 had stalled along the road, police said. Two passengers were inside. Dean had pulled over in his truck to help.

A tow truck that police have said was driven erratically by James Helbert crashed into the Pontiac and Chevrolet. Helbert has not been charged.

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