Archive for Sunday, April 2, 2006

Dip in road may be linked to another accident

April 2, 2006


A notorious dip on a road in North Lawrence may have caused another serious accident that sent a 15-year-old boy to the hospital late Saturday morning.

A large trailer attached to a Toyota SUV hopped the curb along North Second Street across from Johnny's Tavern and struck the boy, Lawrence resident William Baker, after driving over the deep gouge near the intersection of Locust Street.

"If it was on the other side of town, the city would have fixed it," neighbor Roxie Todd said of the bump in the road.

An air ambulance transported Baker to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., with severe leg injuries, Lawrence Police Sgt. Paul Fellers said.

Fellers would not comment on whether the road's condition caused the accident, saying police were still investigating.

The driver, Lawrence resident John Olmstead, wasn't immediately issued any traffic citations, Fellers said.

But Ted Boyle, president of the North Lawrence Improvement Assn., said it wouldn't have mattered if Olmstead had been speeding through the intersection or not.

The bump in the road is dangerous at any speed and has been for years, he said.

For many who drive into North Lawrence, the nearly invisible dip, situated just before a turn in the road, can make the trip under the train bridge nerve-racking. Drivers in the far right lane on North Second Street turn their wheel just as their tires bounce into the air.

For people driving trailers, Boyle said, it is nearly impossible to control.

"It's a dangerous intersection," Boyle said. "That's a hell of a bump right there."

According to most accounts, the dip formed in 1993 after severe flooding in the area. A sewer grate caused water to build there, creating a sink hole that never quite went away.

In early 2003, the dip may have factored into the death of Brian Arellano, 20, Topeka, when a car he was in crashed into the sidewalk railing on the east side of North Second Street. A police report said the vehicle was going too fast for conditions and that alcohol was involved.

Todd said she remembered that wreck well, and she swears the dip in the road had everything to do with it.

"I've seen a kid killed here," she said while watching police detail the accident scene Saturday.

She's lived in the area for 20 years, she said, and now has grandchildren who play near there. She wants to see the spot fixed.

Boyle has been working with Lawrence officials and the Kansas Department of Transportation to repair the dip. KDOT put the item on its list of repair projects two years ago, but construction isn't slated to begin until at least early next year.

When it does, city plans that Boyle has seen call for the city to install two turn lanes along North Second Street at the intersection, using right-of-way from the grass area near the Lawrence Visitor Information Center at 402 N. Second St.

The project will cost millions, with KDOT paying for 80 percent of the project and the city picking up the rest of the construction tab.

Until then, Boyle said he would continue to keep the intersection clear. At least once a week, he calls the police to pick up debris that the dip spreads along the sidewalk and street.

Car parts, wallboard, logs - whatever cargo a truck or trailer might be carrying, the dip sends it scattering all over, he said.

And he's tired of it.

"We've been dealing with this for a while," Boyle said. "We're eagerly awaiting this."


KsTwister 12 years, 2 months ago

We thought this was addressed now Lawrence can pay for lawsuits while the city continues to sit on their hands.Speed is not the issue here now and it was not then either.

cowboy 12 years, 2 months ago

Inoticed we have paved the road into Alvamar again....but lets not fix an obviious hazard or is this really a trafic calming device , slow down or ye shall be launched.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 2 months ago

Hey, folks, read the article again. Call KDOT if you want this fixed. It's a state highway, (US 59) and it's KDOT whose dragging their feet. Same folks who are insisting that the SLT be built on 32nd St. when there is now clearly a consensus in town that could get it built south of the river.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 2 months ago

I drive that bump into work every day, and I'm always surprised that the city has allowed it to remain like that for so long. You really don't have to be going very fast for it to be a problem. I have well-maintained vehicles with good tires. If someone had a car with old struts and some slightly bald tires, they wouldn't have to hit it very fast to lose control on a wet day. The fact that it's down-hill makes it that much more likely that someone will be speeding.

Yes, we could all slow down and be more careful, but if someone was driving through there for the first time, they wouldn't be anticipating how bad that spot really is. It really should be a higher priority. And, yes, if it were not on North Lawrence, it would have been fixed by now.

willie_wildcat 12 years, 2 months ago

I drive over that road almost everyday and Im slow down just to avoid being launched. But the fools around me do not understand that and I have seen some people in nice cars do their impression of a plane taking off. Maybe if enough of us scream and yell at KDOT maybe it will get fixed. Or will it take someone else getting into an accident and dying or being seriously hurt? Looks like this part of 59 has claimed a couple of lives already.

Dixie Jones 12 years, 2 months ago

Havent read what everyone is posting no time today , but UM HAS ANYONE EVER HEARD OF SLOWING DOWN...... i almost can see the problem if your from outa town , but if you have lived here ANY amt of time you know its there so SLOW DOWN ,,

onesmartpuppy 12 years, 2 months ago

As a frequent driver of this intersection. It doesn't matter if you are driving slow or fast - It is too dangerous! I drive a SUV and it is well maintained and even if I am going 20 miles per hour - my vechiles rear end is in the air everytime. Call KDOT and report the problem, the sooner the better, it has taken at least two peoples lives at that intersection.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 2 months ago

It is a matter of speed AND it is a matter of road condition AND it is a matter of vehicle condition and AND it is a matter of weight/length of vehicle.

It's the most dangers spot in Lawrence for any driver or vehicle.

And it has a tremendous amount of trafic on it.

What I dont understand...........

"If we had the funds, we would begin construction immediately,"

Sally Howard (03-03-06 regarding 32nd SLT)

and this........

(from todays story)

"KDOT put the item on its list of repair projects two years ago, but construction isn't slated to begin until at least early next year. "

Does this mean KDOT has no money or does it mean that this repair is on a low priority list.

I think everyone here needs to contact KDOT about this and get this taken care of sooner.

This link will take you to a KDOT page with contact # and e-mails.

Red Harrell 12 years, 2 months ago

My son said that the trailer had come loose from the SUV and ran up the sidewalk. There are a few real important issues here that I think everyone is missing. One. Where are the safety devices. Kansas Law requires on all bumper pull trailers to have safety chains to keep the trailer attached to the tow vehicle. Two. Kansas Law requires trailers 2000 lb or above to have brakes. Three. Kansas Law requires a breakaway device to apply those brakes in the event that the trailer comes loose.

I'm not saying that speed or the bump aren't an issue here, but the root cause is the trailer separating from the SUV.

I hope when the civil suits happen the kid get a million dollars. I think the driver of the SUV deserves to pay that much for blatently violating Kansas Law.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 12 years, 2 months ago

I also drive that intersection frequently, and am always aware of the hazard. But all of you have overlooked the completely obvious solutiom. Build a roundabout. The city commission has become entranced with these devilish constructions, and have spent millions screwing up traffic all over town, and following their logic, this is the obvious and only solution. Lets get with it, whoever replaces Wildgen in the big chair at city hall.

Bryan Wilcox 12 years, 2 months ago

none2: It may not be the same person but there is a realtor in town by the name of John Olmstead. If it's him, he obviously knows the streets of lawrence pretty well and should know about that dip.

onesmartpuppy 12 years, 2 months ago

the bottom line is that the City needs to get it fixed! KDOT will help them pay for it - the city is spending too much money on roundabouts that are worthless and more dangerous then stop signs.
Plus with the trailers having breaks and chains attached - yes they are required - but try to go over that dump and control a trailer yourself! It is impossible, even going 20 miles per hour.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 2 months ago


From the story above:

"The project will cost millions, with KDOT paying for 80 percent of the project and the city picking up the rest of the construction tab."

This does not sound like the City is in the driverseat on this one.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 2 months ago

I have been trying to find any real info regarding this project. Does anyone have any info or idea where to find it. I am looking for project # or actual date when the construction is supposed to happen

BigDaveNLawKs 12 years, 2 months ago

That peddle to the left of the accelerator peddle is an amazing device. When I push on it with my foot, my car slows down. Who knew?

gccs14r 12 years, 2 months ago

I accidentally went through that intersection too hot on the bike one evening last year and thought I'd bought the farm. I was in the right lane and moved over two feet before I touched down again. A bit farther and I would have landed in the gravel at curbside and likely would have been a fatality from hitting the railing.

The combination of the smooth downhill, the sharp jog in the road, the dip, and debris from the riverbank combine to make that intersection extremely hazardous.

grampsforku 12 years, 2 months ago

I really believe the huge swale in the road is the main cause for the accident and that the city has known about this problem and instead of fixing it they blew money on roundabouts that were less needed is some areas......i drove by the accident and saw the trailer and tow vehicle an older toyota landcruiser......i would doubt that the toyota 6cylinder would have any excessive power to pull such a large trailer .......since owning a landcruiser a few years back....... i would think the police will figure out the contributing cause........possibly mechanical or safety issues contributed...........i hope the kid will be ok and can get a good education........and fully recover physically also............gramps

Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

If anyone contacts KDOT remind them of the situation at East Hills Business Park that Lawrence has been requesting action. Had it been up to the city both areas would be have been safer years ago.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 12 years, 2 months ago

When they redid Barker, the intersection at Barker and 23rd was really nice, then some KDOT trucks came in, tore it up and created a dip that is horrible unless you are going under 10MPH. I always thought it was revenge for Haskell fighting the wetlands route of the SLT, since this bump most affects people going to Haskell, or those of us who live in the Breezedale neighborhood. It does slow some of the students down, but if someone doesn't know it's there they will bottom out.

KsTwister 12 years, 2 months ago

My uncle wrote a letter to the editor,the editor then called him about a month later and said congrats the city council voted to fix the bump.He was NOT speeding but it did jar him. I have to go less than the posted speed limit to keep my SUV from jumping lanes there too. So suck it up folks or get in your cars do 30mph no more no less then tell me you didn't notice it. And while your at it ask the city why the delay.Lawrence your streets are getting paved with innocent blood....but maybe that it something more than nothing.

duster 12 years, 2 months ago

This accident was caused by a number of factors. These trailers are dangerous.


ONE- They do not get inspected TWO- They do not get maintained very well THREE- They do not get made very well. FOUR- People do not know how to use the SAFETY CHAINS FIVE Please go here about a women who was killed 3 months due to these types of trailers.

How many more people have to get hurt or killed because of these trailers.

duster 12 years, 2 months ago

The following sounds just like your problem except it happend in California. Its called the "HUMP AND BUMP"

Of course "pick-up trucks are not built to pull big, overweight trailers", neither are Freightliners! If a trailer is that "big" and "overweight", it shouldn't be towed by anything not designed to tow it! Pick-Up trucks were the first trucks, look at the old model "t"'s made into pick-up trucks by Henry Ford. Then they evolved and split into larger tow and hauling vehicles. The modern Pick-up trucks are designed to tow trailers and fifth wheels.

When we lost our tow vehicle and trailer in a roll-over accident last year, the firemen at the scene, the para-medics and the Highway Patrol all made the same comment. "Oh, yeah, that's the infamous 'hump-and-bump', it claims a lot of trailers and big rigs, too!" When we were at the ER in a local hospital, a retired firefighter took a look at us and said "let me guess, the "hump-and bump", right!" We found out, that even my correctly loaded and set up TT/Tow Vehicle, when it hit this overpass section, was subjected to a twist and a hump at the same time, that puts hapless vehicles towing trailers into a terminal sway, "tail wagging the dog" mode. At 50 miles per hour! This is with my 26 years of towing experience, including some big rig time! Instead of anyone taking the time to report this, so Cal-Trans could fix the roadway, it remained a hazard. I took the action of researching the accident rates on theirs section of road. Of the 10 rollover accidents occurring in a 5 year period, 2 were fatalities. My Congressman worked with me, and Cal-Trans swiftly repaired this section of road, sparing future RVers and Truckers from our fate. Darsea, you may have to get your Highway Department off their butts and at least do a study in that area. May save a lot of lives, whether it is caused by speed, wind, road conditions or over weight trailers. It usually is driver fault, but not always!

I've lived in SoCal my whole life, and have seen 80 MPH gusting winds on the Passes overturn trailers like dominos, big rigs included. But that 20 mile stretch needs a good looking at! Cal-Trans has wind advisory signs that flash warnings in windy situations, maybe some thing simple like that would help up there. Slate

Curtis Lange 12 years, 2 months ago

I drove over that dip for a year while driving to class from my home in Leavenworth. I'm one of those people that love to speed up (or not slow down) as I get near the dip. It is definitely one of those things that NEEDS repaired, but it is also fun to drive over.

Sad that someone had to get hurt though as a direct result of the dip. :(

grampsforku 12 years, 2 months ago

No matter what anybody else thinks i saw the accident and the guy had slowed down to 15-20.......if he had been going faster the trailer would probably still would have came unattached as it went over the bump but would have had enough speed to at least go a bit farther so it hit the concrete barrier farther up away from the sidewalk.....the police should be able to calculate this with no problem.......speed was not a factor.......just don't know why the trailer unhooked.....gramps

toughangel41 12 years, 2 months ago

Thank you KUweatherman I know it sounds mean but I love the bump too.Back in the day it was a strange form of entertainment for us. I have lived in N.Lawrence since 1959. I love it but, like you I'm sad someone got hurt. My prayers are with the boy's family

T_F 12 years, 2 months ago

in the spring time water sometimes pools in this dip in the road. I once thought I saw some tadpoles and other signs of life in the water. Pave this over? I think not! we must preserve life and preserve nature.

wtchdr46 12 years, 2 months ago

Let's use a little reason, here. We are not going to cure idiot drivers. We have been ticketing them for longer than I can remember. I am 60 years old. We have even Jailed some of them. It seems as if idiot drivers have unlimited reserves. Obviously we are not going to change that. I see people every day putting on lipstick, talking on cell phones, reading newspapers and everything else while driving, don't you. what is the probably that this is going to change. Ok, maybe the driver wasn't using his safety chain, maybe he was pulling to large of load with too small a vehicle. Maybe he was sleeping, or maybe his brain was in neutral. No one can fix maybe's. The street has a very large dip placed exactly where you need to turn your wheels to avoid hitting the guard rail. The dip is the one factor in the accident that can be fixed. Is this a no brainer or what. The boy that had his leg broken off was born with a condition that means he will never be able to learn an education that will rise him above permanent disability. He was taken for a walk by his father. The boy is effectively blind. They were on the sidewalk. Now he is laying in the hospital with a stitched on leg. The doctor says that if an infection begins, the will have to cut off his leg below the knee. All he needs is to have to add this to his already full list of things that he has to live with. On top of this, his 80 year old grandfather was strongarmed by the police to keep him from getting to his grandson who lives with him. The grandfather knew the boys condition and also hao hard it is for someone who is not familiar with the boy or his condition to deal with. The grandfather can not hardly use his arm today. He also has many bruises from the rough handling by the police. what think ye of that? I have suggested to the grandfather that he sue the driver of the vehicle for the damages to his grandson, the lawrence Police department for injuring him, and both the city and the state for the raod hazard. I will be standing on the walkway going across the bridge next Saturday morning, waiting to see how many people in Lawrence care enough to join me. The plan is, if enough people show up, too move off the walkway into the roadway to the effect of blocking the bridge to northbound traffic until we can get someone, city or state to begin repairs on this extremely and unneccessary road hazard. Come out and join me, and let's get their attention. I already have some semi drivers that have agreed to have engine trouble on the bridge. I do wish to be reasonable, but I think it would be reasonable for the city and state to begin repairs before next Saturday. Making traffic blockage unneccessary. Let's wake up Lawrence. That dip has killed and injured far too many people.

housewivesofamerica 12 years, 2 months ago

It is clear to me the city of Lawrence is predjudiced against the people of North Lawrence. Not fixing this super big bump or dip in the road in front of Johnnies Tavern is a clear example of this. It is past time for the people of North Lawrence to sue the city of Lawrence for failure to provide safe streets. There is no reason for the city of Lawrence not to fix this road hazard. They have the tax dollars from the people of North Lawrence. It is past time to spend the tax dollars from North Lawrence on North Lawrence. Or maybe it is time for North Lawrence to become West Tonganoxie, we might get a better deal from Tonganoxie. I am in full agreement with wtchdr46 when he suggest we close down the bridge on Saturday until something is done. Thirteen years of requests have not been addressed. It is time to force the city of Lawrence to obey their employers. They are supposed to work for we the people. Why aren't they???

ChasL 12 years, 2 months ago

I also live in North Lawrence so I hope we don't have a fire over there while you have traffic fire stations in N. Lawrence!!

opinionated 12 years, 2 months ago

I have lived in North Lawrence my entire life. There has been a dip there since the 50's, but another dip was caused by the 1993 flood. That has given the city and KDOT both 13 years to fix the newest and most dangerous part of that intersection. There is a sign before the dip that indicates just that. However, like most people when you are anticipating a dip, you are not expecting anything like what you get at that intersection. I have seen many trailers come of the trucks that are pulling them as soon as they hit the "dip" and speed is not really ever a factor in those cases. It's time the city and KDOT both get off there a**** and do something about it before someone else gets killed. They have had plenty of time to do it. By the way, the North Lawrence improvement Association has been asking them to fix that for years to no avail. North lawrence has always had to take put on the back burner compared to other parts of town. If you don't believe me just drive down mostof the streets in N. Lawrence and you will find that the roads are crap compared to other parts of town.

gccs14r 12 years, 2 months ago


There's nothing wrong with the trailers you cite as long as they're used and maintained properly. People misuse regular vehicles, too. Not a week ago I saw a Ranger that was so overloaded that it was sitting on the jounce snubbers. He drove right by a cop who did nothing.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

I used to drive that regularly.

Even going 10 miles below the speed limit, it was still a dangerous bump. There's a danger as well in going significantly below the speed limit if people are coming over the bridge and around that curve where they can't see a driver going 20 mph below the speed limit navigating the bump.

I could have dropped my speed even further than 10 mph below, but to consider that safe, I'd need to assume that the drivers behind me were from Lawrence and aware that the posted speed limit wasn't a safe speed for the road, so as not to get rear-ended.

It's all well and good to say, "Slow down, stupid," but at the same time there's the notion that you should be able to travel a road at or near its posted speed limit when there are no adverse weather conditions without endangering yourself or others.

Most of those saying, "Speed is the reason for these accidents" may not realize that the people having these accidents aren't necessarily speeding and the weather conditions aren't necessarily bad. I don't remember any sort of sign or warning about the rough road, and so unless you drive that way regularly enough to be used to it, you're going along and following the posted rules, and suddenly, you hit this bump.

duster 12 years, 2 months ago

Nothing wrong with these trailers??? They do not get inspected, anybody can build them, nobody trains you to properly hook them up, the lights are placed low to the ground and the lighs are not placed on the rear.

Why do we have a 3rd light on a car?? Why is a light placed on the rear of a car?? Why do we put a flag on a object that is beyond the bead of a truck??

Then why are people getting hurt and killed and why according to

that over 50% of these trailers have problems. I don't see 50% of cars and trucks in violations DO YOU gccs14r??????? If 50% of our cars, computers, phones, power grids ect were not working would you accept that???? I guess judging from your comments you would.

SpeedRacer 12 years, 2 months ago

I couldn't find anything more on William Baker; anyone know how he is doing? Is there a fund?

chucknoblet 12 years, 2 months ago

That poor kid. I can't find an article about it in today's (Monday) paper; surely they would write a follow up, wouldn't they? I mean, I heard last night on 6News that he's in critical condition. This is just awful.

gccs14r 12 years, 2 months ago


There's no reason to be shrill. The fact is that Kansas does not have a vehicle inspection program so there is a lot of crap on the roadways. Don't single out trailers when there are plenty of self-propelled deathtraps out there.

I've not seen locally trailers in the condition you cite. The ones I've seen have the lights at the rear and they're usually working. As for the high-mounted light, that's just another signal for the clueless to ignore. If they were as bad as you claim, the State would get involved at the behest of the insurance companies.

sandrat7 12 years, 2 months ago

I've traveled that road for many, many years. It has always had the dip and bad pavement over the dip. It did worsen after the floods. It has needed repair for many, many years. All this has been said, I wanted to add the voice of one who travels it every day. btw,Marion, you are just plain stupid.

htrodman 12 years, 2 months ago

I have lived north of Lawrence for 13 years and that dip has always been there and is very dangerous, especially for out of towners not familiar with the problem. The speed limit there is 40 but even at a slowed speed of 20 it is easy to bounce around. Believe it or not, people that live north of the river actually DO pay taxes just like the folks that live south of the river. It is about time some of those tax dollars are put to use to fix the roads in north Lawrence instead of just putting in a weak patch here and there! Stop wasting money on the stupid round-a-bouts and take care of the life threatening problems....Because of the city's and KDOT's total neglect of a very serious problem, one young man lost his life and another is very seriously injured.

mandapanda 12 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for inquiring about Billy (William). He's my cousin and he's doing well. He was in surgery most of Saturday and some yesterday and today, but is doing well. He should be able to come home soon.

duster 12 years, 2 months ago

Can someone keep us updated with how the child is doing???

I would like to keep the child and family in my thoughts.

Thank you.

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