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Archive for Tuesday, August 10, 1999

BAD TIRE CAUSED FATALITY, KHP SAYS

August 10, 1999

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A Kansas University sophomore was killed a month ago today in the accident, which was started when a state truck driven by a KBI agent suffered a tire blowout.

A Kansas Highway Patrol report into a traffic accident that killed a Kansas University student shows no wrongdoing by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent whose vehicle triggered the crash.

However, a Highway Patrol sergeant has requested maintenance records for the KBI truck agent Dana Moodie was driving along with a record of the hours Moodie had worked the past several days.

The left front tire of the KBI truck blew out, causing Moodie to go left of center and strike two cars late July 10 in a two-lane construction zone on Interstate 70 near the Alma/Wamego exit, the report says.

KU sophomore Ethan D. Lichti, 21, Newton, died in the accident.

"I was listening to the radio, and then the tire blew," Moodie says in a written statement included in reports the Journal-World obtained Monday from the Highway Patrol in Topeka. "I tried to keep the vehicle in my lane but couldn't."

Moodie, 44, said he crashed through pylons and "hit the first car almost head on. I think I hit at least two other cars. I remember the truck going over on its passenger side and coming to rest."

Moodie said he reached up and turned the truck's ignition off.

"I didn't think I was hurt but I was hanging and could not get the seat belt to release," he said. "I tried to reach for my knife to cut the belt, but I couldn't get to it from the angle I was hanging."

Moodie had participated in a multiagency drug raid in Phillips County earlier in the day and was driving back when the accident occurred.

The KBI truck struck the side of a two-door 1998 Honda Civic driven by Brandon Funk of Lawrence before it crashed into Lichti's 1992 four-door Mazda Protege.

Funk said he saw the left tire of the truck strike one of the reflectors on the center line, "causing the truck to hop and dart across the road, striking my car on the driver's side door." He said he didn't see the truck strike Lichti's vehicle "because it happened so fast."

Toxicological reports on blood samples taken from Moodie and Funk aren't finished.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is dgruver@ljworld.com.

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