Archive for Sunday, April 30, 2006

Driver killed on Highway 59

April 30, 2006


One person was killed and another injured after a two-vehicle accident Saturday afternoon at the intersection of U.S. highways 59 and 56 about 10 miles south of Lawrence.

While headed west on Highway 56, shortly before 4 p.m., the driver of a silver Honda pulled from a stop to cross Highway 59 in front of a northbound black Dodge Dakota truck, said Lt. Kari Wempe, spokeswoman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

The truck then struck the car on the driver's door.

The driver of the Dodge truck, only identified as male, refused medical treatment at the scene, Wempe said.

A medical investigator pronounced the driver of the car dead at the scene. The car's passenger was transported by ambulance to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., in critical condition, Wempe said.

Douglas County Sheriff's officers work the scene of a fatal accident Saturday afternoon near the intersection of U.S Highways 59 and 56, about 10 miles south of Lawrence. The driver of the silver car was pronounced dead at the scene.

Douglas County Sheriff's officers work the scene of a fatal accident Saturday afternoon near the intersection of U.S Highways 59 and 56, about 10 miles south of Lawrence. The driver of the silver car was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff's office did not release any additional information about the people involved, as officers continued to investigate the accident Saturday evening.

No tickets were issued at the scene, Wempe said.

Division Chief Rob Kort, of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical, said at the scene that because of the rainy weather a medical helicopter was unavailable to transport the injured passenger.

Douglas County Sheriff's officers and a trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol mapped the scene Saturday evening. Both vehicles ended up in the grass on the northwest corner of the intersection near the Baldwin Junction Veterinary Clinic.

Intersection of U.S. highways 59 and 56

The Kansas Department of Transportation currently has a $214.3 million plan to expand Highway 59 to four lanes from Lawrence to Ottawa. As of now, the new road is scheduled to open in Franklin County in 2009 and in Douglas County in 2011.

The two-lane stretch of road has been notorious for several fatalities and injury accidents. Also on Saturday morning, two people were injured after an accident at the intersection of Highway 59 and County Road 460, which is three miles north of the junction of 59 and 56.


trinity 12 years ago

macheath, right on. i agree with everything you've said, especially the part about south 59 from garnett/now points south of there to ottawa has been widened&beautified-and the stretch from ottawa to lawrence remains a death trap. maybe it's because most are clamoring for a 4-lane, and widening just wouldn't be good enough?? i don't know, i used to follow the flack but don't, any more. i'm an ottawan, my youngest is a KU student, and i STILL have her call me most of the time when she comes home now&then to let me know she made it back to lawrence safely.

and what about 68 from ottawa to paola/louisburg?? niiice highway, mostly.

one thought, though; my heart just breaks for those who are injured or lose their lives on that highway. but c'mon, a stop sign means STOP and don't GO until it's clear; plus, there are flat-out MANIACS driving that highway that think nothing of flying 70, making really stupid passing moves, etc. your roundabout idea, much as i don't care for them, is PERFECT for the 59/56 intersection.

law 12 years ago

My prayers are with all families. That was the second major accident yesterday on Highway 59.

parsimoniousjayhawker 12 years ago

What these high school journalists at The World did not mention is that there was another serious accident at Zarco earlier that same day. That person was air lifted from the scene. You would have figured both accidents would have been mentioned in this story, duh!!

Mike Blur 12 years ago

Trinity is right. Regardless of the road, a car at a stop sign has to STOP and only proceed when the right of way traffic is clear. I guarantee you, widening 59 will only make matters worse for those who don't know what a stop sign means. I travel a lot on 75 north of Topeka, and it used to be extremely dangerous two-lane, particularly the intersection at NW 46th and 75 Hiway. Now, it's a four-lane all the way to Holton and--guess what?--an overpass and roundabout at 46th Street, which is now one of the safest intersections in Kansas. However, the four lane road only makes drivers at stop signs believe that traffic must get over in the "far lane" (the passing lane) so the stopped driver can pull onto the highway. I've had this happen to me recently, only a couple months ago, where someone pulled right in front of me when I was in the right lane. (There was absolutely no traffic behind me--had this idiot waited 5 seconds, she could go in any lane she wanted to.) Fortunately, I've been freaked out enough times before where I was slowed down enough to anticipate her dangerous bonehead maneuver. (I've had to fishtail in the median before to avoid other wrecks.)

It's best to assume that everyone else on the road is drunk and crazy, be wary, and even if you have the right of way, you still have to watch out for other dangerous drivers.

redfred 12 years ago

Everyone seems to have forgotten the KDOT RAISED the speed limit on U59 through that junction from 40mph to 55mph a few years ago. I wonder if it would have helped any if the speed limit was still 40mph.

compmd 12 years ago

Sort of offtopic (flame away) but I've always thought that Kansas needs to have harsher penalties for traffic violations. I wonder if people would drive better if they knew that being stupid would cost them serious cash or even jail time. I am making no implications about this accident. Just a thought.

openminded 12 years ago

Just wanted to clarify some things. At the Zarco accident yesterday morning, NO ONE WAS AIRLIFTED!!! Because of the weather, the helicopter was not able to be used! I know because I was on the scene! Second, if you actually read the article about the accident at the Junction, you would have noticed that the last paragraph was about the accident at Zarco. Just because the word ZARCO isn't mention doesn't mean it wasn't talked about. The actually accident didn't occur at Zarco, just finished there.

compmd 12 years ago

Pywacket, The reason I don't think that death is considered such a big penalty is because generally people are arrogant enough to believe "it won't happen to me." I know you've seen the way some people drive. They really are playing with death but they don't seem to think so. You can only die once, and you can't learn from it. You can get fined a few hundred bucks or go to jail many times, but hopefully one would learn his lesson quickly. So long as we have the topic of increasing revenue also, lets take the revenue we get from the bad drivers and use it to fix some of the worse roads in this state. There we go: bad drivers get punished, roads get fixed.

I don't remember what visibility is like at that intersection; it's been a while since I've been down that way. I'll have to check it out. In any case, if the speed limit was lowered on 59 approaching that intersection, that would be tremendously useful from a visibility and kinetic energy standpoint.

Dayna Lee 12 years ago

I am saddened to hear that another life has been lost on this road. My sympathy to the families and friends of those involved. I think lowering the speed limit would help greatly. I usually drive the speed limit on highways and find myself driving like my mom on this stretch. You never know what might jump in front of you. Please keep this in mind if you find yourself on this road. I promise people will understand if you are a little late because you showed caution. (Reminder: deer are also a problem on this road!)

KUnit 12 years ago

A friend and I drove to that intersection and tried to re-inact it from what we have read and based on glass on the road we tried to make sense of this. But what we did notice is looking to the south from 56 (heading west) you cannot see a dark vehicle in overcast weather coming from over the small hill. Another thing we noticed is that there were no blinking lights to alert people of a intersection like their is when you are nearing Lawrence. The only thing we saw was a 56-59 juncition sign. Why was the speed limit raised? Its too bad that people have to continue to be killed in accidents before we can improve the roads we drive on. Why not think roads through before we go ahead and construct them.

My prayers go out to the families and friends of the peoples involved.

disgustedaboutcomments 12 years ago

these are the only comments i will ever make to you cold hearted people. if you would have read the report you would have seen that she stopped at the stop sign. i am a friend of the two girls . the one that was killed was 19 the other is twenty and in a coma right now with extremely serious brain trauma. what if one of them was your daghter would you still be so hateful. in case you have forgotten it was raining pretty bad. the rain can somewhat effect your visability dont you think. i know i myself and many other people have thought it was clear and proceeded but in the rain especially rain like yesterday afternoon when a dark colored truck with no headlights on is coming it could be a little hard to see don't you think. regardless of whos fault it was does not change the fact that jenny is dead and laura is not dong to great herself. how would you feel if you had just lost your only daughter and you read some of these comments. they call it an accident for a reason. it was a mistake. she looked and did not see the truck. she didnt pull out in front of a truck for a good time, she did not see the truck. did that ever even occur to you people. or were you in too big of a hurry to add your two cents. people love to say stuff when it does,nt even involve them. i,ve been at the hospital everyday. and i have to see a friend a person that if you met you could not help but love buried this week. so in the end pointing the finger and making hateful comments is it gonna make anything sure doesnt bring jenny back , and it does'nt make lauras condition improve. to all those that sympathise and send your prayers , thank you they are very much appreciated and will help me and many others make it through such a difficult situation.

adamatku 12 years ago

i agree. this is coming from another person affected by this. how can you even begin to say that someone wouldnt stop at an intersection like that one? that's a ridiculous statement to make. me and kyle knew both those of girls and went to that intersection, and i can see how easy it would be to make that exact same mistake; its pretty damn tough to see a dark truck with its headlights off in the rain on an intersection with elevated land all around it. the whole situation is a joke and shouldnt even have happened if somebody in the damn county would fix this problem, like two more stop signs or a lower speed limit. it's not rocket science: horrible visibility regardless of the weather -- fix the problem. i just wonder how many more ACCIDENTS will have to happen on the road before something is done about this bs

age has absolutely nothing to do with visibility; that could have happened to anyone under those circumstances, and its garbage to say that she was killed because she was a young, inexperienced, bad driver.

I hope laura pulls through, and maybe you people should spend more time praying that she is alright than saying all this crap about "bad drivers should be punished."

badger 12 years ago

How utterly tragic. I hope that something is done about that road, and soon.

Disgusted, I'm sorry you are bothered by the comments. Sometimes they bother me, too. All I can say is that it's easier to be clinical and detached when it isn't your friend or family member, and if perhaps you haven't lost someone to a traffic accident recently.

I lost one of my closest friends to a similar car accident two years ago, and I'm sure that local people there were discussing what possessed her to pull out in front of a truck, and why the truck was speeding, completely ignorant of my pain and that of her family. I don't really have an answer for it, and I'm truly sorry you are grieving and hurt.

jtmill21 12 years ago

Well to everyone talking about "them" being sutpid young girls have no idea what happened and shouldnt be able to talk about it. This is Laura's, the girl stuggling for her life in the hospital, older brother. I neither know exactly what happened but in rain anything could have happened, be it poor visiblity or hydroplaning through the intersection. Before you people get your ego trips and think that you are all better than anyone, mistakes happen, that is why they are called accidents. All 3 involved were around the same age which is 19 for jenni and laura, so for you so called friends that have posted on here saying you were friends with her you werent, you dont even know her age. You knew her but you werent friends with her. So all in all you people need to stop and think about all possibilites before you assume fault on someone. And if you still feel the same way then come pay me a visit and we can work this out. For everyone else thanks for your prays and encouragement, it means a lot.

doughman453 12 years ago

I knew these girls...I went to high school with Jenni and Laura. I haven't seen them or spoken to them since high school graduation, but it absolutely tears my heart out that two wonderful girls have had their lives inexplicably altered--one dead and one (from what I was most recently told) is probably not going to make it. I've seen scenarios like this one played out in the many dramas that TV and Film offer us just about everyday. But this is real, TOO real for those who cared about these girls.

Something so sudden and shocking--as this was to me when I first heard--leaves many people wondering why things like this happen. I tell my self, now...I hope to god this never happens to me...I hope to god that those who care about me never have to go through what the families and friends of these two girls are going through. No one should ever have to lose a loved one like this...And, no one's one's gift of life should be taken so early, and so abruptly. It just shouldn't ever happen. But as these past events can and does happen--too often, for that matter.

For those of you that read this, if you believe in the power of prayer...please pray for those that are alive, as well--who have to live with this tragedy. Secondly, let all those who are able, do all that they can to help prevent sad affairs such as this one from ever occuring. I certaintly do not know enough about the circumstances to say whether this crash was preventable. Though, in my opinion, every car crash is preventable...and should be prevented. (And, from what I've heard many things could be changed about that road so maybe, just maybe this would never have happened) Indeed, if it was preventable, it is the responsibiliy of all those who can do something about do so having learned the lessons that two families, and many more friends, wish all of us never had to learn.

My thought and prayer are with all of those who are affected by this sad event.

doughman453 12 years ago

I posted the last comment not knowing exactly what laura's condition was (and I said that in the comment). But I think I shouldn't have said "she probably won't make it." Whether that's true, or not--I don't know. I sincerely hope her condition isn't as bad as what other people have told me. My information is based off of hearsay (though, it's from people that are relatively close to the situation). So I apologize to any that are close to her, if I assumed too much in writing what I did.

jtmill21 12 years ago

As far as her making it there was a lot of improvement today that was very encouraging, but it is a very bad case and it is looking like more and more each day that she is going to make it out of this with sever brain damage but alive. But that is just a hope and a theory the doctors have but they also have told us that it doesnt look good at all and start making plans so it is really a day to day thing and all we can do is wait and pray. To all of you out there praying and sending your best it is doing me and my whole family a lot and keeping us strong. Thank you so much.

badger 12 years ago

doughman and jtmill (and other friends of Laura's):

Docs pretend they know a lot about the brain, but they don't really know as much as they put on knowing. They can't always explain why people recover or don't. So they make dire predictions and give you worst-case scenarios because they'd rather prepare you for the worst and then greet you with a miracle than get your hopes up and fail.

Just keep reminding yourselves that since so little is really understood and a lot of the predictions are guesswork anyway, there's absolutely no reason not to keep right on hoping and praying that she will recover fully. It may be a long road, but it sounds like she'll have a lot of people pulling for her and there to help her if she needs therapy.

jtmill21 12 years ago

Thanks badger, yeah that is really how I have been dealing with it, they never know what may happen and everything they say is really an educated guess and is going to be the worst case scenario, because like you said they would rather have you feel better than have you expecting full recovery and something go wrong, all we can do is wait it out. And yes she will have a huge support group around her when she pulls this out.

therash 8 years ago

Hasn't that intersection been a 4-way stop for a number of years now? Or is it different now with the contruction around that area?

tomatogrower 8 years ago

The problem with the new highway is that the old highway will continue to be used, and there will continue to be accidents and deaths. But it will at least decrease, because of less traffic. Do you think people who want to drive fast will stay off the old highway when the new one is finished? Hope so.

seriouscat 8 years ago

Prayers and thoughts of healing and sympathy to all who have been affected by the terrible accident! I hope the woman who is at the hospital pulls through and is able to heal physically and emotionally to have a good life.

Man I hate car wrecks.

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