Visit our offices in Kansas City, Liberty, St. Joe,
or our Virtual Office

Kansas City Police Baffled By Rise In Deadly Traffic Accidents

Sunday, Dec. 17th 2017

By: Sam Zeff KCUR

Officers Tim Fillpot (left) and Kari Mutschler on a Friday night in Kansas City looking for drunk drivers. Fatal accidents are up 37 percent this year in the city, and police aren’t sure why.

[P]olice are also dealing with a huge spike in traffic fatalities. And as the year comes to an end, police aren’t really sure why there have been so many.

On a recent Friday night in east Kansas City police have fanned out in what the Kansas City Police Department calls a “wolf pack.”

It’s an operation funded by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and aimed at arresting drunk drivers.

Tim Fillpot, whose specialty is arresting impaired drivers, and his partner Officer Kari Mutschler are among the half dozen officers working the wolf pack.

While taking drunks off the road is clearly good, nobody knows whether that will cut into the fatal accidents that have plagued the city this year.

“Kansas City is on an island. We are at an accelerated rate for fatalities and the rest of the state appears to be down with their fatality numbers,” says Major Roger Lewis who recently took over the traffic division.

So far this year 93 people have died in accidents in Kansas City, Missouri. That’s a 37 percent increase over last year.

Across Missouri, fatal accidents are actually down three percent, according to the Highway Patrol website.

This spike has baffled the upper reaches of the KCPD.

The most puzzling thing is that while deaths are up, the number of accidents has remained steady.

Lewis has some observations from his own commute down U.S. 71.

“I see aggressive driving. Distracted driving and, quite frankly, just careless driving. Speeders, people rushing in and out between various lands, trying to get ahead of traffic on a very regular basis.” Aggressive but not road rage, Lewis says.

The department may not know exactly why fatalities have skyrocketed, but it’s not sitting still.

For one, it’s sending commanders to community groups to talk about safety and listen to citizen input.

Early one morning, Capt. Joe Crayon talked to MainCor, an economic development group in midtown. “Part of the reason we think might be that people aren’t seeing enough police cars around and they’re not seeing enough people getting stopped,” he told about a dozen people.

Department statistics certainly bear that out. The number of tickets written is down about 50 percent from last year.

Fillpot and Mutschler didn’t catch any drunk drivers on their patrol. In fact, the wolf pack this night would nab just two people.

For years, the KCPD would use state grant money to run DUI checkpoints, but last year, the legislature banned checkpoints, saying the wolf packs are more efficient.

Not so says Fillpot, a 15 year veteran of KCPD. “I enjoy doing both. I think there is more of a deterrence and a higher turnout of arrests doing the sobriety checkpoints,” he says.

Is the lack of checkpoints the reason fatalities have spiked? Maybe. Not enough tickets being written? That’s also possible.

And here’s an odd fact: police say when homicides rise so do fatal accidents. Why? Nobody knows.

It is a problem without an obvious solution, says Lewis. “We do feel a little less in control, if you will, of actually being able to have the same impact on careless and aggressive driving within the thousands of square miles of roadways that we have in this city.”

Whatever the reason, police are worried as we approach Christmas and New Years.

Google 5 Star Rating Motor Vehicle trial Lawyers Top 25 Hurt In An Accident?

Personal Injury

If you’ve been injured and aren’t sure where to turn, let us help. We represent individuals in many areas of personal injury including truck, auto and motorcycle accidents, property liability (slip & fall), spinal cord injuries, and more.

Worker's Comp

Injured at work? We can help! If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, we can help ensure you get full and fair compensation under the law.


Our Personal Injury & Worker's Comp Attorneys

Northland Injury Law: Personal Injury Lawyers in Northland Kansas City and Northwest Missouri.

Proudly serving: Gladstone, Liberty, Kansas City, North Kansas City, Saint Joseph, Plattsburg, Cameron, Chillicothe, Trenton, Sedalia, Warrensburg and many other areas in Missouri.

The Northland Injury Law Firm has been practicing in the Kansas City area for many years. Our founders, Max Von Erdsmannsdorff and Steve Mowry, built a strong foundation for the firm. Since Eric Bartlett joined the firm in 1996, Northland Injury Law has earned a reputation for success, honesty and compassion in personal injury and worker’s compensation.

I found Northland Injury Law to be very professional and honest! They kept me up to date on my case. I would highly recommend the whole firm for all your legal needs!!” – Michael T.

Northland Injury Law is proud of the relationships they’ve built with the clients they have served in the Northland and surrounding areas.  Their many great results for seriously injured people have helped their clients recover the significant economic losses that attend such serious injuries.

When it comes to a lawsuit after an accident or injury, representation matters! Most people do not realize that insurance companies have teams of lawyers, investigators, photographers and defense experts who immediately go to work following a serious accident involving their insureds.  They hire these people to minimize their exposure throughout the claims process and to reduce the amount received by the victim. Northland Injury Law aims to level the playing field for their clients.

This is an excellent law firm. They helped me out after an accident and did an awesome job. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who needs a good lawyer.” – Toni B.

Between them, Mr. Mowry and Mr. Bartlett have over  50 combined years of legal experience in the Kansas City Northland area. They have both been recognized by KC Magazine as “Top attorneys in Missouri and Kansas” and both have been recognized in the National Top 100 Trial Attorneys.

If you require the services of excellent local lawyers after an accident or injury, call Northland Injury Law today for a free consultation at 816-400-4878.

Latest Blog

How To Choose A Personal Injury Attorney

Accidents don't come with a warning, leaving you grappling with injuries and a complex web of legalities. It's the kind of situation that can thrust you into a whirlwind of uncertainty, where decisions matter more than ever. A guiding hand...

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers about our Kansas City law firm, like how and when to file a suit for your Personal Injury & Worker’s Compensation.

View All FAQ's


Northland Injury Law © All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy

Site Created by KC Web Specialists, LLC

Skip to content