HOLTON, Kan. -- An Omaha woman trying to pass a vehicle on a Kansas highway Saturday night was involved in a head-on collision that took the lives of three people in the other vehicle.
Investigators say Maria Perez-Marquez, 48, of Omaha, was southbound on U.S. 75 just north of Holton, Kansas around 8 p.m. Saturday when she tired to pass a vehicle in front of her.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, when she realized she wasn't going to make it past that vehicle she swerved her Chevy Equinox onto the shoulder.
Carmen Ukele, 42, of Sabetha, Kansas, was at the wheel of an oncoming SUV - a northbound Chrysler Town & Country. Ukele also took evasive action but swerved onto the same shoulder and the two vehicles collided head-on.
Ukele was killed in the crash, as were two of her passengers, identified as 11-year-old Marlee Ukele and 62-year-old Stephen Ukele, of Sabetha. A fourth person in their minivan, Lee Ukele, 59, was injured and air-lifted to the hospital by medical helicopter.
Perez-Marquez and her passenger, Rosalao Perez, 29, of St. Joseph, Missouri, were both injured. They were also flown from the scene for medical treatment.
Authorities closed a portion of U.S. 75 for approximately eight hours while they investigated the crash. It reopened around 4 a.m. Sunday.
Holton, the scene of the crash, is roughly 30 miles north of Topeka.