Archive for Thursday, June 24, 1999


June 24, 1999


No major injuries were reported in two multicar pileups that blocked the turnpike for more than two hours.

Traffic was snarled for more than two hours Wednesday on the Kansas Turnpike after two mid-morning multicar accidents east of Lawrence, though only minor injuries were reported.

A three-car accident shortly after 10:45 a.m. on the eastbound lanes triggered a larger pileup involving three semi tractor-trailers and two more cars. Eastbound traffic was blocked until 1 p.m., when the debris was cleared. Traffic was stopped for more than two hours, and eastbound drivers were advised to find alternate routes to Kansas City.

The first pile-up occurred at mile marker 215.9, when a 1991 Chevy sedan driven by Kristine Morrell, 18, of Kansas City, Kan., hit the 1992 Ford truck driven by David Heim, 43, Topeka, in front of her. Authorities said Morrell was driving too fast to avoid hitting Heim. That pushed the truck into a 1994 Ford Explorer, driven by Warren Curtis Jr., 59, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

At 10:46 a.m., about seven miles east of the Lawrence service center at mile marker 215.8, a tractor-trailer driven by Gregory Burnett, 49, of Bald Knob, Ark., was stopped along with a 1990 Chevrolet sport utility driven by Frank Bauerlein, 50, of Hampstead, Md.

Behind those two, a tractor-trailer driven by Stephen Passonno, 50, of Overland Park, and a 1995 Chevrolet sport utility driven by Charles Gudgeo, 39, of Rochester, Ill., were slowing or stopped.

A third tractor-trailer, driven by Richard Sumpter, 44, of Fowler, Colo., could not stop before it reached the other cars.

As Sumpter slowed, he sideswiped Gudgeo's vehicle forcing it into the median's concrete barrier and rear-ending Passonno's tractor-trailer.

Gudgeo's vehicle overturned in the median, and Passanno was pushed forward into Bauerlein's vehicle.

Then Passaonno's tractor-trailer continued into the median and jack-knifed against the barrier.

Sumpter's tractor trailer came to rest jack-knifed behind Bauerlein's vehicle.

Bumps and bruises were the most serious injuries reported. As of Wednesday night, no one had been cited in the wreck.

-- Josh Funk's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail is

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