Its backward slide down the hill at 11th Street ended in a three-car sandwich with another street sweeper and a Lawrence Police Department patrol car.
The street sweepers, owned by Dustrol Inc., a pavement maintenance company based in Towanda, were headed west on 11th Street on their way to Kansas University's Memorial Stadium to park in preparation for a city milling project today on Mississippi Street, said Dale Skillman, driver of the lead sweeper. The police car, a Ford Crown Victoria driven by Officer Tyson Randall, was following the two sweepers up the hill.
A city maintenance worker determined after the accident that the brakes went out on the lead sweeper as it approached the top of the hill, near 11th and Louisiana streets, Lawrence Police Lt. Dave Cobb said. The sweeper slid backward and ran into the second sweeper, which rolled onto the hood of the police car.
The entire pileup slid about a block before the police car veered into the southeast curb at 11th and Ohio streets., where it came to a rest.
The accident occurred about 5:10 p.m.
Although the patrol car's hood accordioned and the front tires collapsed, the officer escaped injury.
"If it had been a smaller car, who knows?" Cobb said.
The department has 14 marked patrol cars, he said. The one involved in the accident was one of the newer models.
Neither Skillman, who was driving the lead sweeper, nor Tim Hermon, who was following in the second sweeper, was injured. They watched Thursday evening as a Hillcrest wrecker lifted the second sweeper off the patrol car.
"We were done for the day and moving stuff, getting ready to go to the motel, and this happens," Skillman said.
He and Hermon live in Pittsburg but are working at Dustrol during the summer. Skillman, whose brother Alan is supervising the Mississippi Street project, said the company's insurance would cover the damage to the police car.
"They don't like for this stuff to happen, but it isn't going to hurt them any," he said.
-- Staff writer Mindie Paget can be reached at 832-7187.