A loss of power as a Caterpillar 940B loader was going uphill at a construction site in Russell County led to a fatality when it rolled downhill and crashed into another Caterpillar 940B Tuesday afternoon, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. The crash occurred just after 2 p.m. in a construction zone just east of U.S. 281 near mile marker 150.
Hector Cesar Fraire Montelongo, 53, of Mesquite, New Mexico, died following the crash after being transported to Russell Regional Hospital. He was listed as the second occupant on the second piece of equipment, but the initial investigation leaves a question mark as to whether Montelongo was actually on the Caterpillar platform on the receiving end when impact occurred, or if he was nearby on the ground.
According to KHP, Tyler Darren Jennings, 28, Valley Falls, was driving the northbound Caterpillar traveling north and going uphill when he lost power, rolled downhill southward, and struck the Caterpillar being operated by Jose N Ramirez Navarrete, 57, whose residence was unknown. Both drivers survived the crash without apparent injury.