Archive for Sunday, June 20, 2004

Rescue effort results in second fatal crash

June 20, 2004

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— Minutes after a fatal crash at a southeast Kansas intersection, two more people died when a rescuer speeding to the scene collided with a car.

Fredonia Fire Chief John Settle called the chain of events "one of the worst nightmares you can have."

The first accident happened just before 5 p.m. Friday when Margaret Day, 56, of Fredonia, pulled out in front of a tractor-trailer on Kansas 47 at the U.S. 400 junction east of Fredonia. Day was killed when the rig struck her sport utility vehicle, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.

Minutes later, a volunteer Fredonia firefighter, Russell J. Brown, 19, was responding to the scene when his pickup collided with a car in Fredonia.

The car's driver, Charlene Hendricks, 63, of Fredonia, and her grandson, Matthew R. Hendricks, 16, of Buffalo, died when the car hit a telephone pole and a tree, the patrol said.

Matthew Hendricks' twin, Joshua L. Hendricks, and another passenger were transported to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Joshua was listed in fair condition Saturday, and the other passenger was listed in critical condition.

Brown also was transported to Wesley Medical Center where he was listed in fair condition Saturday.

Settle said the fire department was responding because it operates the Jaws of Life and didn't immediately know whether Day had survived.

He said Brown had been a volunteer for two years and had just started working at a local tire shop.

"Everybody is concerned," Settle said. "It's a very unfortunate situation."

Trooper Scott Grassl said the patrol wanted to talk to Brown before determining who was at fault in the second crash.

"It was absolutely tragic," he said.

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