Family focusing on the positive after father shot while driving - WNEM TV 5

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Family focusing on the positive after father shot while driving on I-35

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Mark Vanderweide, 35, of Olathe was driving with his family for a weekend trip to the lake when their minivan was shot at and Vanderweide was hit. Mark Vanderweide, 35, of Olathe was driving with his family for a weekend trip to the lake when their minivan was shot at and Vanderweide was hit.
MIAMI COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

A father is home recovering after he was shot in the leg while driving with his family along Interstate 35 Friday night. He spoke about the frightening experience Tuesday.

As investigators try to figure out who the shooter was, the family is focusing on the positive.

"I had the wife and three kiddos in the back seat and heard an unsuspecting pop and then there was pain and blood," said Mark Vanderweide, 35, of Olathe.

Vanderweide and his family were heading to the lake about 8 p.m. Friday for a nice relaxing weekend. Those plans quickly changed when a bullet pierced their 2007 Dodge Caravan as they drove south on I-35 near Edgerton Road in what authorities are calling an intentional random shooting.

"All I could think about is the timing of the car and the bullet and fractions of seconds would have meant it would have hit one of my kids instead of me," Vanderweide said.

For that Vanderweide and his family are forever thankful and trying to focus on the positive.

"My wife and I are just trying to focus on positive lessons we can teach the kids and talk about God's protection over it just being my leg and not worse," he said.

Vanderweide has months of recovery ahead. The bullet hit a main artery and doctors had to take a vein from his left leg to repair the right. How much feeling he will regain is unknown.

Also unknown is the who and the why as they're left to wonder who fired a high a high-powered rifle towards the interstate.

"I think there's going to be frustration and anger no matter what, but we are trying not to dwell on that," Vanderweide said.

While deputies are treating this as an intentional shooting until they can prove otherwise, they say it could have been a random crime.

"Was he in the wrong spot at the wrong time? I believe so," said Miami County Undersheriff Wayne Minkley. He added that someone easily could have been killed.

"Did somebody intentionally shoot this car? Did they know who he man was? Did they know where he was going? What were their intentions? We have to find that out," Minkley said.

Finding the culprit won't be easy. A Cleveland Indians player was shot in the leg in 2004 while the team was traveling via bus from Kauffman Stadium to Kansas City International Airport after a game. Police never found that shooter.

A Kansas Department of Education official was fatally shot on U.S. 71 in 2004 after she left Starlight Theatre with her child and mother in law. Her killer has never been found.

A Kansas Department of Education official was fatally shot on U.S. 71 in 2004 after she left Starlight Theatre with her child and mother in law. Her killer has never been found.

After Friday's shooting, deputies from Miami, Johnson and Franklin counties along with Kansas Highway Patrol troopers searched buildings and homes before opening the interstate back up.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Miami County Sheriff's Office at 913-294-3232 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

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