Archive for Monday, November 20, 2006

Cat Tracker” accident victim identified

K-State fan hit the bottom of overpass

November 20, 2006, 11:35 a.m. Updated November 20, 2006, 5:23 p.m.

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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.

49 ABC News in Topeka contributed to this story.

Comments

conservative 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm assuming this is an open topped double decker bus. I know from previous articles that it was in fact a double decker.

So it sounds like a couple of people were standing when they should have been sitting.

kujeeper 8 years, 6 months ago

This is an extremely sad situation, I feel for the families of the victims and for those who had to witness such a horrible act firsthand. However, seems that common sense should tell people to not ride on top of a moving vehicle, nor should someone drive a vehicle with people on top of it....

ruette 8 years, 6 months ago

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GladImGone 8 years, 6 months ago

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Centrist 8 years, 6 months ago

Ruette ... the article does not say whether he was a KU or KSU supporter.

How about a little "thought" before you say such a thing.

Centrist 8 years, 6 months ago

Ok, so it says it was a busload of KSU supporters ... my bad :)

But it was still insensitive of you to say that!

Ceallach 8 years, 6 months ago

chic, thanks for the links. Why is it the out of town articles contain more details than our hometown paper?

Emily Hadley 8 years, 6 months ago

I refuse to believe that anybody driving a bus with a deck on top could be unaware of eight people on top. The rules of this bus were obviously not being followed for quite a while as the bus drove around Lawrence, since it was spotted by others who were concerned about those on top.

Vehicles regularly travel on Iowa St. at 40-50 miles an hour. Even a KS Highway Trooper that passed me the other day at 17th and Iowa was going at least 65 as he shot past other speeding cars. That is absolutely no place for the equivalent of a parade float.

I think the bridge has a 12-foot clearance, and I have seen vehicles barely scrape under and back out of it. I don't know the height of the bus, but I am surprised that the driver wouldn't have already been cautious about going under it.

The worst tragedies involve clear hindsight.

Bunny_Hotcakes 8 years, 6 months ago

We drove under it yesterday, Emily. I remember seeing that the sign (when you are driving south on Iowa) says 15' 0". Pretty easy to see how a 6' (or thereabouts) person standing on top of a bus would smack right into it.

Kristen Murphy 8 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Karma. It was just rude. Not all K-State people hunt. Seriously.

Kristen Murphy 8 years, 6 months ago

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tenziewenzie 8 years, 6 months ago

I just want to say that people can be so heartless. Why do people say such stupid stuff. So some people were having fun, and not thiking.. What you have never done that. Grow up Lawrence, and have a heart for once!

badger 8 years, 6 months ago

How very tragic.

Not just the accident, but the response from some of the walking wastes of genetic material posting here today.

To those family and friends reading this, I offer my heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your loved ones, and my heartfelt apologies that you're dealing with moronic commentary from a bunch of mouth-breathing lug nuts.

missmagoo 8 years, 6 months ago

"State and local traffic laws make it illegal for anyone age 14 or over "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."

Nice.

kmcd028 8 years, 6 months ago

I have two friends who were on the bus...one being the driver. Who really cares what the clearance was or if they were standing or sitting. The thoughtlessness of some people on this site is unbelievable. Would we want the people of Manhattan to be discussing this event in this way if it had happened to KU fans?

I was trying to meet up with my friends at my tailgate when I found out about the accident. Believe me...everyone feels horrible and would rewind the clock if they could. The fact that this was poor judgement is obvious but we need to think of what we can learn from it. When big games come into town EVERYONE acts a little more carelessly which could end in a catastrophic event like this. Whether it is tearing down goalposts, driving to the game, or going from place to place after the game...we have all done things that we look back and say "I should not have done that." Unfortunately, no one gets to look back and say that this time.

news_girl 8 years, 6 months ago

The fact that so many comments had to be removed is upsetting and embarassing. This is a tragic time and my heart goes out to the families.

ControlFreak 8 years, 6 months ago

I am wondering about the wording of the law.

It says "anyone 14 and over" right? So little kids could ride in the back of a truck but no adults to keep them in it? That doesn't make any sense to me.

Maybe it's a typo or something.

charlie1031 8 years, 6 months ago

This is a terrible tragedy and my prayers go out to the families of the injured. It should be noted however, that the people on top of the bus were all adults and capable of making decisions on their own. Those of you suggesting it was anyone else's fault, obviously don't believe that people are responsible for their own actions and always look to play the BLAME GAME.

Shame on YOU!

linus 8 years, 6 months ago

I agree with news_girl.

My thoughts, prayers, and heart go out to the vicitm's, thier families AND to all of the passengers on that bus.

Young and old alike were on that bus and they all witnessed something horrific!

Please stop posting if you can't be a decent human being. This is a tragedy.

charlie1031 8 years, 6 months ago

Hurlehey_boy- An official accident report will be issued. Why don't you wait for the facts before running your mouth or in this case your fingers!

lacoov 8 years, 6 months ago

My thoughts and prayers go to each of the families. Shame on the ones who were so rude and inconsiderate, I'd like to think your parents taught you better!

news_girl 8 years, 6 months ago

ControlFreak - I hear you. I am also confused about the "14 and older" thing. Hopefully in the next article that will be clarified. There still seems to be a lot of information to come.

Hoots 8 years, 6 months ago

I saw the bus sitting on Iowa Street just north of Bob Billings and could tell something bad had happened. They had crime tape wrapped around the back deck of the bus. I never even gave a thought to someone being killed, especially in that manner. What a freak and tragic thing to happen.

bangaranggerg 8 years, 6 months ago

I've never seen so many posts be removed on one page. This one is more touchy than the croc hunter death. Every post that hasn't been removed is some preachy ass trying to remind everyone to walk on eggshells. Like the victims familys give a hoot about what stance some worthless internet message board poster takes on their loss. Go ahead and make it about yourself, you preachy preachy ninny.

b_asinbeer 8 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, it is kind of weird about the 14 and older not being able to ride in the back of a pick-up.

So, I'm assuming, it's illegal to ride in the back of a pick-up? Can anyone clarify or confirm this?

classclown 8 years, 6 months ago

I might be wrong about this, but I believe anyone under 14 is already covered under other laws hence the wording.

Aren't children 13 and under by law supposed to be in the back seat with a seat belt on at all times? Which would prevent them from riding in the back of a pickup under an existing law already.

I agree the wording is funny, but in my opinion that is what they were aiming at. Those not already covered under another law.

Anybody able to confirm - or correct - what I said?

latinlab 8 years, 6 months ago

Sorry for your loss. Now, I live in front of Memorial Stadium and I've witnessed the stupidity of people who get drunk and don't even watch the football game, the people who run across the street in mid-traffic screaming KU or KSU.... does it seem odd that a football game makes people of any age act like imbecils? Perhaps we should re-examine the sports culture in this country. No, we don't kill each other like soccer games in England or Argentina but parents please, you must be an example your children. Sports should be fun, not a display of reckless behavior.

I hope we don't have to see a post a year from now about a goal post decapitating a 21-year old student. And I hope that I don't have to read comments about how we could have done something or how it was bound to happen.

Next time you see the goal post being torn down, tell the cops to do soemthing, get on the field like I did, and push the students back. If you just sat and watched and said "oh no" that would make you as guilty.

bethnbob 8 years, 6 months ago

conservative,

I drove past the bus shortly after the accident and there no seats on top of the bus. They were all standing and some were luckier than others.

hspunk97 8 years, 6 months ago

p>gctelegram.net has mr. greens obit.

Nikki May 8 years, 6 months ago

Have you guys ever seen other tragedies on the LJW site. This is normal no matter who it is.

Is the law stating that if you are under 14 you can be up there.

fitted_shirt 8 years, 6 months ago

the atmosphere was "sober" on top of the bus? what were they doing up there? reading?

rousseau108 8 years, 6 months ago

Yes, there was already an existing law prohibiting children under 14 from riding in the back of trucks, on top of trucks, etc. Then they added a law to make it illegal for ANYONE to ride in the back of trucks, hence the separate law specifying people over 14.

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