By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
The deadly hit-and-run happened just before 10 p.m. Saturday on Interstate 35 by the exit for Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, KS.
Jamie N. Frecks, of Kansas City, KS, was one of 16 women, plus a driver, on the bus celebrating a bachelorette party when she fell out of an emergency door.
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -
Funeral services have been set for a young mother who fell from a party bus and died over the weekend.
This comes Monday afternoon as the Kansas Highway Patrol completed its mapping of the crash scene on northbound Interstate 35 near downtown. Investigators had shut down the various lanes on I-35 from 18th Street to Southwest Boulevard.
An emergency door of a party bus opened late Saturday and the woman fell out. The bus will undergo a full inspection, authorities said.
Jamie Frecks was out for a rare night of fun with 15 girlfriends for a bachelorette party when she somehow fell out the emergency door of the party bus they were riding.
She was hit by three cars, but only one of the drivers stopped after hitting her. Troopers are asking anyone with information about the two drivers who left to call them or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
Trooper Howard Dickinson said investigators have located the two vehicles they believe left the scene.
"We've gathered several other vehicles that we believe were involved in striking the lady after she left the bus," Dickinson said. "We've got warrants to look at those vehicles for signs of damage."
Frecks' aunt, Cynthia Matteson, said the family is devastated that they are now making funeral arrangements for their loved one. They are asking for the public's help in identifying the drivers who did not stop.
"If somebody could come forward for the family, somebody knows they ran her over. It's not fair. They had hired someone to make sure they got there safe and returned safe, there was no return, and we'll never get her back," Matteson said. "It still doesn't bring back Jamie. It's kind of like a nightmare, when you wake up she's still not here."
Family members have said this was the first time that Frecks had gone out since her baby, Emma, was born about six weeks ago.
Frecks planned to marry her fiancé next April and then go back to school.
"You cry. There's no answers. There is no reason or rhyme," Matteson said. "I can't imagine how this happened."
KCTV5 has unsuccessfully tried to reach Midnight Express, LLC, which owned the party bus. The company is registered in Kansas with a Shawnee address, but its website advertises it as a Kansas City, KS, transportation company.
Midnight Express, LLC, issued the following statement by from their attorney Wednesday:
"The owners of Midnight Express, LLC, as well as the driver of the Midnight Express bus, Debbie Elmer, wish to express their sincere sympathy to those suffering as a result of Saturday night's tragic accident which took the life of Jamie Frecks.
Ms. Elmer and the owners of Midnight Express, LLC, are trying to find out how this terrible accident could have happened. They have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities to find out what may have caused this accident.
Because it is not in anyone's best interest to engage in conjecture or speculation, neither Ms. Elmer nor the owners of Midnight Express will have any further comment until the investigation is complete."
The license plate on the bus is registered to a home in Bonner Springs.
But officials in Wyandotte County, Bonner Springs and Shawnee could find no business registration for Midnight Express.
"My expectations would be that if they're soliciting to do work here, then they should be registered here," Wyandotte County License Administrator Phillip Henderson said.
Authorities advise checking out a transportation company's registration information before using them. Companies should be registered in the city or county where their offices are. Authorities say you can check a transportation company's record via the U.S. Department of Transportation. Click here for that website.
Midnight Express is not registered on that website.
Diane Forgy, owner of Overland Park Limo, serves on the board of directors for the National Limousine Association says party buses should register with the Federal Transportation Department. She said consumers should drill down before contracting to use a party bus.
"Definitely ask the company some tough questions. Where are they based? What is the (age) of their fleet? How long have they been in business? Ask for their DOT number, their DOT authority," Forgy said.
In the meantime, Frecks' devastated friends and family have many unanswered questions themselves as they try to assist the family, particularly her baby girl.
"Bob and Tammy Frecks, the parents of Jamie Frecks, brother Kirk Frecks and sister Jessica Hibler along with their families, fiancé Eric Shields and baby, would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this devastating time in our lives," her family said in a written statement.
Friends of Frecks are holding an event for her family Wednesday in Loose Park. They're collecting donations for her daughter and fiancé.
"If you knew Jamie, you'd love her," Matteson said. "Her smile in her picture gives her away - she was a wonderful person."
Items such as formula, diapers, wipes and clothes are being requested for a 3-month-old girl and older.
A fund for the family has also been set up.
Monetary donations can be sent to:
First Legends Bank and Trust c/o Jamie Frecks Memorial Fund 10900 Parallel Pkwy Kansas City, KS 66109
The First State Bank and Trust in Tonganoxie and Basehor are also accepting monetary donations as well as the First Legends Bank of Piper, KS. The fund has been set up as the Jamie Frecks and Baby Memorial Fund. You can click here for more information via a Facebook page.
Maple Hills Funeral Home in KCK is handling the arrangements. Visitation will be held at the funeral home at 3300 Shawnee Dr. at 10 a.m. Friday. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m.
If you have any information, Dickinson stressed to contact authorities.
"There are so many small bits of information that may lead us to everything we need to know," the trooper said. "All the things everybody saw that evening might really be able to lead us in the right direction. What happened exactly? We don't want to leave any empty spots out there."
KCTV5's Bonyen Lee contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
DEVELOPINGThree vehicles impounded in fatal KCK party bus caseMore>>
Thursday, March 27 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-03-28 00:56:41 GMT
A breathtaking, oceanfront mansion on the Big Island has a new owner. The 9-plus acre "Waterfalling Estate" property sits on a cliff along the Hamakua Coast. It is 8,100 square feet with five bedroomsMore >
A breathtaking, oceanfront mansion on the Big Island has a new owner.More >