By DAWN BORMANN
The Kansas City StarIn this photo provided by Pastor Jim Anderson of Omaha Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church are Daniel and Marigold Jamela with their son, Mishael. Their daughter, 6-month-old Mario, wasn't born when the photo was taken.
An Omaha couple had started the first stretch of a move to Dallas on Tuesday night, but their path took a tragic turn in Wyandotte County.
Authorities said Daniel Jamela, 37, and Marigold Jamela, 34, died when their sport utility vehicle collided head-on with a tractor-trailer rig on Interstate 435 near Kansas 32 about 11 p.m.
The couple’s son, Mishael Jamela, 8, and daughter, Mario Jamela, six months, were taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital. The extent of their injuries was unknown.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said Daniel Jamela was driving a Honda SUV southbound on I-435 when he lost control. His vehicle crossed the median and struck the northbound semi.The SUV was pulling a rented U-Haul trailer. It was loaded with supplies for the family’s new apartment in Dallas.
A neighbor from Omaha said Daniel Jamela had planned to settle his family at the apartment and come back to Omaha to ready their house for sale.The news hit their close-knit Omaha neighborhood especially hard.“I’m shocked and heartbroken. I’m just saddened by the whole event, wondering where the kids will go, and I am heartbroken for them, too,” said neighbor Donna Firkins.Daniel Jamela was a nurse at Creighton University Medical Center. Marigold Jamela stayed home to care for their children.
The couple had a strong work ethic and were deeply spiritual, she said.“We loved them as neighbors and friends. They were wonderful people. They were very friendly and polite and intelligent,” Firkins said.
On Tuesday, the couple appeared happy to be moving to a warmer climate. Originally from Africa, they had moved from Texas five to seven years ago and were ready to leave Midwestern winters behind, friends said.
Friends and neighbors stopped by Tuesday to bid them goodbye. One of those who stopped by Tuesday spoke in their native language, Firkins said. But she and others were not sure whether the couple had family nearby.
When Firkins returned home about 6 p.m. Tuesday, the couple was preparing to leave. Firkins paused from unloading her groceries to say farewell.
“The mother just looked beautiful. She was holding her little girl. She had just gotten back from taking her to the pediatrician for her shots,” she said. “I said, ‘Oh, I have to say goodbye to you.’ She said, ‘You can have the tomato stands that are in my backyard,’” Firkins remembered.They promised to exchange Christmas cards. It was the last she heard from them.
“I don’t know how far they intended to go,” she said.Authorities said the entire Jamela family wore seatbelts, as did the semi-driver, Rodger B. Wilson, 54, of Brookfield, Mo., who was not injured.
The northbound lanes of I-435 were closed during most of this morning’s rush hour between Woodend Road and Kansas 32 in Edwardsville as authorities wrapped up their investigation of the accident. The lanes reopened about 8:30 a.m.
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