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Archive for Thursday, September 9, 1999

DUMP TRUCK WRECK LEADS TO CLIP BY JET

September 9, 1999

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A dump truck and a pickup truck collided Wednesday morning north of Lawrence, causing minor injuries.

An overturned dump truck and a misdirected driver conspired Wednesday to ground Kansas University's $4 million jet.

In an unlikely turn of events, the jet clipped a sport utility vehicle on a taxiway at the Lawrence Municipal Airport.

The driver of the vehicle, believed to be a flight student, apparently was trying to find an alternate route out from the airport because an accident on U.S. Highway 24-40 blocked the airport's main entrance.

The Kansas Highway Patrol, which investigated the accident, did not release the name of the driver on Wednesday.

"He pulled off to the side when he saw the airplane coming, but he just didn't get off far enough," said Robert Custer, a pilot for the Cessna Citation Bravo that was donated to KU two years ago by the Kansas University Endowment Association.

Custer wasn't on the plane at the time, but Wednesday afternoon he was trying to contact parts suppliers to replace the wing tip that was sheared off in the incident. It could cost between $5,000 and $10,000 replace the part, but there is no structural damage and the jet should be back in the air in less than a week, Custer said.

"The wing brushed the vehicle enough to damage the wing tip, but the FAA wouldn't classify this as an accident because there is no structural damage," Custer said. "... This happens all the time at airports, pulling (aircraft) out of the hangar, but I guess it's not usually with a $4 million jet."

Because it was only using the taxiway -- not the runway -- the jet wasn't moving very fast at the time. The wing hit a rear side window on the vehicle and struck the metal door frame.

Three passengers, all non-university employees, were on the Emporia-bound jet. Because the jet is technically owned by the state, non-university employees, including legislators, the governor and members of state agencies, often use the Cessna, Custer said.

U.S. 24-40 outside the airport was blocked about 8:20 a.m. after an accident involving a pickup truck and the dump truck.

Just after passing the dump truck, the pickup's driver hit the brakes, forcing the driver of the dump truck to swerve.

The dump truck overturned and dumped its load of dirt and at least 50 gallons of diesel from its fuel tanks across the highway.

"I tried to figure out what my best options were and where I was going to go, and you know where that was," said the dump truck driver, Robert Parker Enterprises employee Spencer McCabe, 25.

McCabe, who also serves as the Eudora fire chief, was treated at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for a sprained right foot and released.

The KHP did not release the pickup driver's name, either, on Wednesday, and it wasn't known if she was cited in the accident. She refused medical treatment at the scene.

Rob Kort, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical battalion chief, said the highway was blocked for about two hours.

Fire and medical crews sprayed a foam on top of the fuel to guard against fire, and then Kansas Department of Transportation employees made an impromptu dike with the dirt to contain the fuel. An absorbent compound was used to soak up the fuel.

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is ckoger@ljworld.com.

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