Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Second victim dies from injuries in Baldwin Junction accident

May 10, 2006


The Douglas County Sheriff's office today announced that Laura J. Miller, 19, Spring Hill, has died from injuries resulting from a two-vehicle accident April 29 at the Baldwin Junction, the intersection of U.S. Highways 59 and 56 about 10 miles south of Lawrence.

Miller, who was seriously injured and was taken to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Jennifer Jamison, 19, Spring Hill, who was killed in the accident.

Jamison was driving a Honda Civic west on U.S. Highway 56 and was struck by a northbound Dodge Dakota pickup truck as she crossed U.S. Highway 59.

The driver of the pickup truck was identified as Chauncey Russell, 20, Ottawa. He was not seriously injured.


OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

I hate to even post this, but I wonder if a cell phone was involved in this. She clearly wasn't paying attention.

CanadianPassport 12 years, 1 month ago

I have a friend who got into a bad accident at that intersection as well, and I still don't understand how this could keep happening. There are flashing lights, bumps on the road, big stop signs ... Let's just make it an overpass, I don't see any other solution.

mztrendy 12 years, 1 month ago

How bout we not try to figure it out and just feel sorry for the friends and family?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

Why not just "feel sorry" Trendy?

Because feeling sorry never changed ONE thing in this world. Change comes from action, and action comes from ideas. This is worthy of our analysis. "Feeling sorry" doesn't actually "do" anything.

And while QB may be sick of discussing cell phones and accidents, one thing MUST be true: someone was SO distracted that they missed big flashing lights and signs, and drove out into their own death. Maybe it wasn't a cell phone, but a 19 year old was distracted, and in DG county it's a rare thing to see a 19 year old girl who doesn't have a cell phone duct-taped to her head.

betti81 12 years, 1 month ago

if Jenny is from the family I believe she is from, there would be no cell phone involved. (how rude to post that anyway!) how sad. This family has had alot to deal with recently.

compmd 12 years, 1 month ago

I feel bad for the guy that hit those two girls. I wonder how much he asks himself if there was anything he could have done differently.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

Why, Betti, are you so sure there couldn't be a cell phone involved?

And, I apologize if my post seemed to say "be unfeeling". That wasn't my intention. I just can't understand why anyone would prefer to "feel", but not "think". Why not work toward changing the things that make us "feel sorry" so that we are not continually repeating the same hurtful experiences over and over.

Steve Jacob 12 years, 1 month ago

If you ever drive North of Topeka on Highway 75, they put in a very nice overpass and roundabout. It's had a few stores there, and with Harrah's, it became a high traffic intersection. The overpass made everything simple and safe.

wysiwyg69 12 years, 1 month ago

canadian passport.............. why not just build an overpass? Are you going to pay for it by yourself? Maybee your taxes are not high enough but mine are. Then if you can afford that intersection, how about every other crossroad in the area where there has been a car accident. I do fell sorry for thr victims family and as much for the person who hit the young lady. but someone was not payin attention to the roadway no matter what the conditions were, slow down if it is rainy, foggy or less than perfect

junco_partner 12 years, 1 month ago

Be careful what you ask for. They used to have tons of fatality accidents at US75 and NW 46th street in Topeka. After several failed attempts to correct the problem they ended up putting in a giant roundabout.

badger 12 years, 1 month ago

My condolences to the families and friends of both these young women.

Anyone can get distracted, for any reason. Not having been in that car or present at the accident, I can't imagine speculating on how it could have been prevented by different choices on the part of anyone involved. That's a very dangerous stretch of road.

Mike Blur 12 years, 1 month ago

The roundabout and overpass at US-75 and NW 46th in N. Topeka, although expensive, has most likely already paid for itself in lives saved, medical costs saved, and automobile-related cost savings, like repair bills and insurance premiums. People that cry "high taxes" do not see the long-term benefits and cost savings of traffic safety devices. Ask one person who has lost a loved one on US 75 if the roundabout was worth it, and they'd tell you they wish it was built sooner.

countrysunshine 12 years, 1 month ago

I my heart goes out to their family and friends on both sides. My suggestion in stead of an overpass or around-about, which could cost extra of tax payers. There is already a caution light there why not just install stop light. Well that is my 2cents worth.

weterica 12 years, 1 month ago

"Because feeling sorry never changed ONE thing in this world. Change comes from action, and action comes from ideas."

Way to go OldEnough! It is great to see people of such bravery and action like you changing the world one post at a time.

Some people feel sorry, you make assumptions and fit them into your persona-pouch so that you may comment on something that annoys you--that may or may not be even part of the story. Wow! That is true agility! And then when you discount a more cautious poster's opinion! What power, what grace, what ACTION!

And, boy-howdy you are sure changing the world with your ideas! Thank God for you. You are an amazing person--way more amazing than any people who feel sorry for the family and wish to wait until facts are clear.

Great job, you are one of the brave and proactive men that make this country great as they warm their seats and post on small Kansas town websites.

We will soon pump our fists under a soon-to-be-erected statue of you.

We thank you and your presumptuous condescension for all it does.

hipper_than_hip 12 years, 1 month ago

I work with the father of Jennifer, and it's painful for all of us. He's been out of work since the accident, and no one here knows if a cause has been established.

Keep in mind that the speed limit in that area is 55mph, which is roughly 80 feet per second. I'm not sure how much sight distance there is to the south, but the truck that hit them could have easily been 200 feet or more from the intersection when they pulled out.

wysiwyg69 12 years, 1 month ago

Sure all familys victims are sad and would do anything to save the lost lives of there loved ones, but we can't put rubber bumpers around everything in life. Sooner or later you have to have a little responsibility for yourself. And for junco and mikes post, should we put in an overpass at 10th and wanamaker next to the 470 bypass overpass .It would be less than a half a block from each other, but I guess if they work in the rest of topeka, why not at the #1 accident site in topeka?

mztrendy 12 years, 1 month ago

so oldenuf, if these girls were talking on the phone, or had their radio too loud, they deserved to die? You're an idiot.

wonderhorse 12 years, 1 month ago


"so oldenuf, if these girls were talking on the phone, or had their radio too loud, they deserved to die?"

I don't believe he said anything of the kind.

mztrendy 12 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry, I'm just not sure why that is relavent to this article. Why does it matter what the reason is? Why not show a little respect?

Mike Blur 12 years, 1 month ago

I haven't been thru 10th and wanamaker in years, but it sounds like it's a prime candidate for a roundabout.

betti81 12 years, 1 month ago

Oldenuf: i am pretty sure (again if she is from the family that i know) because cell phones are not permitted for the children. (and again if it is the family i know, she would have been living at home and following the rules)

ben_ness 12 years, 1 month ago

I was in a very bad accident when I was about the same age as these two were. It was scary and also over in the blink of an eye. There is no margin of error, and most times no time to react, especially at highway speeds. My parents live very close to this intersection and whenever I turn on to 59 I am very cautious and look both ways multiple times. There is limited sight in both directions and people fly through the intersection at break-neck speeds. Hopefully, KDOT will start recognizing the problem with this high way and fix it before more people are injured or killed.

My thoughts go out to both victims families. I am very sorry for your loss.

optimist 12 years, 1 month ago

I've never understood why the powers that be haven't created a speed zone in that area. Slowing vehicles traveling north and south on 59 HWY to 40 or 45 mph a mile either side of the intersection would give drivers more time to react to the mistakes of the drivers crossing 59. Patrolling the speed zone for the first few weeks after adopting it would condition the regular drivers along that stretch to slow down and be cautious when approaching. Even if this doesn't prevent accidents the slower speeds will reduce the potential for fatalities.

Sigmund 12 years, 1 month ago

That corner has been the site of too many deaths. I believe it has a one of the highest accident/death rates in the State of Kansas. A roundabout, or something similar, which causes all traffic to slow down has been needed for a while. Does anyone know if it current intersection is a 4-way or a 2-way stop? Its been years since I have been out that way.

Before you ask, yes I am willing to have my hard earned and much begrudged tax dollars (state, local, federal, city, whatever) used to pay for it. Perhaps we could take the "remidial dog training for prisoners" money and spend it here. But I digress.

BTW, the speed of sound is approximately 766 miles per hour. While the driver of the truck may have been going very fast I think "two-and-half the speed of sound" should be taken more as a figure of speech rather than literally.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

Wow. I fail to see what I wrote that deserves all THAT. I can only assume that something I wrote didn't read the way I thought it would.

My apologies to all of you who didn't understand my point.

Jen Catloth 12 years, 1 month ago

the intersection does not stop going north south. I live in baldwin and always take the vinland road for the purpose of avoiding this death trap, but due to construction on that road i have been forced to take 59 for the past few weeks. I usually turn onto 59 from 600rd by the zarco station and even there i find it extremely difficult to make a right handed turn onto 59.

ly1 - why is it the person with the right of way's fault or as you say "not cool" there is no evidence that he was going over the speed limit (although most on that road are). I don't think you should be laying the blame before you know the facts.

Just take this for what it is, one more horifying accident on an already dangerous road.

badger 12 years, 1 month ago

Y'know what?

If you have to start off a post with, "I hate to even post this, but..." probably should just stop right there.

fletch 12 years, 1 month ago

4 way stop. Simple. Cheap. Effective.

It cuts an entire 10 seconds off your trip to Ottawa.

ProudestMonkey 12 years, 1 month ago

A four way stop on 59? I'll let you think about idea that again.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 1 month ago

I understand Old Enuf and 40 to the extent that change is needed at this intersection in order to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again.

I don't think changing the speed limit would work, however. I find very few drivers that actually obey the speed limits as it is. They always think they know better. And the police don't enforce the speed limits now.

While speed may not be the cause of the accident, it certainly contributed to making it a fatality accident. Perhaps it should be a four-way stop. But, unfortunately, there are idiots out there who would even ignore that.

All of us make mistakes, and all of us who drive have made mistakes while we're driving. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. It's just that usually those mistakes don't cost us our lives.

Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and there's nothing anyone can do to avoid it. Blaming doesn't do any good.

short_one 12 years, 1 month ago

ly1: This may be a bit OT, but until you learn spell or at least improve your grammar, you should find a more productive way to spend your time than posting on the

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 1 month ago

old enough...I've read your windbag BS long enough to doubt that you really are old enough to be anybody's dad. My heart goes out to the famlilies.

hottruckinmama 12 years, 1 month ago

hey 40 why don't you take your nastiness to another article thats a little more appropriate for argument. this isn't the right one.

i feel sorry for the families of these girls.

Harry_Manback 12 years, 1 month ago

I got a $200 ticket for going 75 mph in a 55 on this road last year. I was angry at first and it made my insurance go up, but it is necessary. So whoever said they don't enforce the speed limit, that's not true!

My roommate and her sister, who were only 20 and 26, died in a similar accident last summer. They were speeding home so they could begin preparing for the birthday of her daughter.

I drive K-10 3 days a week to work, and there are times when I've come pretty close to being killed by someone. Today I witnessed a Corvette and 2 souped up trucks racing 95+ mph. When they passed me my car shook, and I was going about 74. I wish people would just slow down and be more aware of their surroundings. Then things like this wouldn't have to keep happening.

AnglNSpurs 12 years, 1 month ago

Old Enough--

Every time I read an article on here directly afterward you have some post.... do you just like to hear yourself talk? You wrote "I really hate to post this...." Do you know what the moment was? Your gut telling you that maybe this opinion might not be the best thing to write... I have always been told to trust my gut, and if my gut told me that... I wouldnt post what you did.

THE POINT OF THE MATTER IS: 2 very young lives were taken too early in a tragic way. How the accident happened or what was the "Suspossed Reason" matters very little to the grief I am sure all families and persons involved feel. Lets not try to be high and mighty saying this is DEFINATELY what happened. But rather feel some compassion for these families. I doubt you were at the accident or have some special power to determine what caused it, so how can you judge as to what did. Unfortunately these girls died way to young, and only they will know the true cause of what happened. I have lost too many friends in tragic accidents, and granted I did look for a reason/ someone to blame. It doesn't help the process.

All I ask is that is next time you post think for a minute if you were one of these girls parents and read that.... I am sure you wouldn't feel high and mighty

TO THE FAMILIES (If you are reading this): I am sorry for your loss- thoughts and prayers to your families.

AnglNSpurs 12 years, 1 month ago

While I am on my soap box? Even thou it is a ways away? What will happen to the intersection when the widening of 59 happens? This might be the opportune time to build an overpass.

And I just re-read what I wrote, I do appologize for going on my tant. I have lived in Douglas county my entire life, and have traveled that intersection more times than I can count, you have a hill south of the intersection, it is very dangerous to the most cautious and uncautious driver. I just have a hard time swallowing the fact that someone can blame it all on cell phones. And before anyone asks.... yes I was taught to re-read everything I write, just hit the preview and submit a little too quick.

Sandra Willis 12 years, 1 month ago

It may be that the driver had seizures ... that'll cause a bad accident. ...

If the passenger manages to live; that'd answer that Question, if she remembers.


mom_of_three 12 years, 1 month ago

40 - I don't know if you would like Switzerland. The Swiss are nice to everyone, and I don't know if you would fit in.

blessed3x 12 years, 1 month ago

People, it's a done deal. With the current plans, HWY 59 will become divided four-lane and an interchange added at that location (actually about 300 feet to the east). A four-way stop on that stretch with limited sight distance in either direction would cause more accidents than it would save. At grade intersections are incredibly dangerous, but the problem here is compounded by a narrow roadway with no shoulders. This has for years been one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Kansas. It was not until about 3 years ago that KDOT fought through the protests and laments of the "concerned citizens" and reached an agreement to improve the roadway. The presence of unstable earth in the Pleasanton (Pleasantville) area has pushed back the construction dates, but I imagine they will start pushing dirt in 2008 or so. Tragically years too late to save the lives of these young girls and so many like them that have died on that stretch of road.

The Greenies even got in on the act:

latinlab 12 years, 1 month ago

40.. I don't why I'm replying because I think you're a moron for posting political stuff on this comment log. Oh, I do, Switzerland is very expensive, education is free at all levels, taxes are extremely high and they speak 4 languages depending on which border you live. So no, I don't think a guy who posts comments like this on a comment log about a crash accident can even apply for a visa to Switzerland. You better stay here and deal with it.

jandl4ever 12 years, 1 month ago

I'm Laura Miller's cousin. First of all half of you people have no idea what your talking about, Jenni did not have a seizure while she was driving. Nobody can prove that she was or was not on a cell phone. It was raining extremely hard when the accident happened. Nothing can be proven about what happened, there are so many possibilities. So before you all get on here and try and act like you are just so brillant and know exactly what your talking about you should think again. Its hard enough to lose someone you love, we don't need the rest of you ass holes making things up so you feel smart. Thanks to everyone who has shown sympathy and cared.

Ashley Butler 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm so glad I didn't read this 9 years ago.

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