Lawrence Police have identified the man killed Saturday morning in an accident atop a bus full of Kansas State University football fans. The victim was 27-year-old John P. Green of Shawnee.
Green was one of eight people riding on the roof of the Cat Tracker bus when it went under an overpass in the 1700 block of Iowa Street about 11:35 a.m. Saturday, according to a police report. He struck the bottom of the overpass and was pronounced dead at the scene. One other passenger, Christian D. Orr of Salina, struck the overpass and was in critical condition this morning at University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kan.
Lawrence Police this afternoon identified the driver as Brent Simonsson, 41, Wamego. According to a report, there were 21 passengers on the bus in addition to the driver, ages 7 through 66. Eight people were riding on the roof of the vehicle.
Both Orr and Green were struck in the head when the bus went under the overpass, according to the report.
"This is unusual as much as it is tragic," LPD spokeswoman Kim Murphree said.
State and local traffic laws make it illegal for people "to ride on any vehicle or upon any portion thereof not designed or intended for use of passengers when the vehicle is in motion," or for a driver to allow anyone to ride there. The law makes exceptions for some employees and for officially sanctioned parades or special events.
"We've issued citations for people riding in the back of a pick-up, but I don't recall any situation where someone has been riding on the top of a bus that has seating there," city prosecutor Jerry Little said.
"I know that the first concern of everyone involved is for the well-being of Mr. Green's family and for the well-being of Mr. Orr and his family," said Pedro Irigonegaray, who represents Simonsson. "We are still in the fact-gathering process, and as you can imagine there are a lot of considerations in this case that need to be looked through carefully."
K-State sophomore Becky Keim says it's the first accident she's heard of on the Cat Tracker.
"It was just something that us as Americans we enjoy our football and sports and everything. And just to have a tragedy like that happen, it puts a sad picture around it," Keim said.
Hays resident Casey Edmonds, 28, was riding on the rear deck of the bus when the accident happened. He said the atmosphere on the bus was subdued and sober.
"My experiences with it are far from what I'd consider rowdy," Edmonds said. "It's not a big drunk fest at all."
He did not know the two victims, but said he rode the bus often to Kansas State University football games. Saturday, Edmonds caught the bus in Lawrence, meeting with several members of his extended family members.
He wouldn't discuss what he saw when the accident happened, but said that the children on the bus, including several of his relatives, were ushered away from the scene almost immediately.
"They don't know too much about what happened," he said.