Archive for Friday, October 13, 2006

Baldwin man dies in Highway 56 wreck

Two Ottawa residents suffer injuries; traffic stopped for more than 2 hours

October 13, 2006


An 81-year-old Baldwin man died and two Ottawa residents were injured after a head-on, two-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon on U.S. Highway 56 near Worden.

Medics and officers responded to the accident at 1:30 p.m., and the crash stopped highway traffic for more than two hours.

Harold Seele, 81, was driving a pickup truck eastbound on U.S. 56 and tried to make a left turn onto Douglas County Road 1039 in front of a westbound passenger car. The two collided in the west side of the intersection, said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Brady Flannigan.

The accident occurred about two miles west of the Baldwin Junction and near the Worden United Methodist Church, 298 E. 900 Road.

According to a highway patrol report released Thursday night, Seele was not wearing a seat belt. He was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and hospital staff later notified his family members that he had died, according to the report.

"As far as we know, there isn't any extenuating circumstance," Flannigan said at the scene.

"I don't believe that speed was a major factor. I believe possibly inattention may have come into play. At this point in our investigation, that's all we really know."

Carol Grimes, 73, Ottawa, who drove the westbound 2003 Chevrolet car, and her passenger, 73-year-old John Grimes, also of Ottawa, both suffered injuries.

Carol Grimes wore her seat belt and was taken to LMH, where she was listed in good condition Thursday night, a nursing supervisor said.

According to the accident report, troopers were unsure whether John Grimes wore a seat belt.

A LifeStar helicopter flew him to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.

A nursing supervisor said an update on his condition was not available Thursday night.

At the scene, Flannigan indicated that Grimes' injuries were critical.

Flannigan also said he considered the road there to be a "fairly safe stretch of highway," though it had no shoulders.


Linda Endicott 11 years, 8 months ago

And which older driver are you all blaming for the accident? The 81-year-old who turned in front of the other car, or the 73-year-old driver of the other car who didn't see it in time to slow down first?

Age doesn't always have anything to do with accidents. Sometimes, accidents just happen.

If I remember correctly, isn't there a big hill in that area, that makes it difficult to see oncoming traffic?

And I really think that the older driver who isn't that alert and doesn't pay attention, probably was driving the same way when they were 30. People's driving habits don't change that much over the years.

I'm really undecided over the seatbelt thing. Maybe they make you safer, but I've known too many people who survived bad accidents only because they WEREN'T wearing a seatbelt, and were thrown clear.

And the damn things jam far too often, and then you can't get out unless you have a seatbelt cutter. Make sure you get one and keep it within reach.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 8 months ago

Most accidents happen on roads like this on anyways. Two lane, undivided. Cross traffic. 55-65mph. Statistically asking for trouble.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 8 months ago

They need to build a over pass with merge lanes...Nobody should be able to argue with that....Put a .3% sales tax for baldwin to pay the cost(and, of course, sunset thebill when it is payed off)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 8 months ago

"because they WEREN'T wearing a seatbelt, and were thrown clear."

9 times out of 10, if you are thrown from a vehicle, that's really bad news.

Statisically, it's quite well-documented and supported that wearing seatbelts is way safer than not.

number3of5 11 years, 8 months ago

Why are you people trying to blame this accident on aging, alzheimers, or people? An accident is an accident, no one is to blame, because no one did this intentionally. I am 62 and have given up my driving due to health issues, but if I did not have my husband to drive me around there would be times when I would have to get on the road and drive myself. Many of the elderly do not have the option of giving up their driving because they do not have anyone else to depend on.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 8 months ago

Unless it was some type of mechanical failure, yes, I suppose it was someone's "fault".

But that doesn't mean it had anything to do with age.

bmwjhawk 11 years, 8 months ago

I completely agree, and would extend it to anyone under age 18. Enjoy the 18-60 year driving experience, but get ready for increased scrutiny outside of that window.

hipper_than_hip 11 years, 8 months ago

Who's to blame?

I have three family members who are all in their mid 80s, and two of the three continue to drive (against everyone's wishes). The one who quit driving realized her driving skills were impaired, she was worried that she would hurt an innocent person, and she said she couldn't live with something like that. One that continues to drive says that accidents are accidents, and no one can be at fault. The other older driver thinks that everything is someone else's fault, and if they got into a wreck, it wouldn't be their fault.

Three different people - three different takes on accidents: my fault, no one's fault, someone else's fault.

My condolences go out to the families of the victims.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 8 months ago

The issue shouldn't be about age. It should be about whether or not someone can exhibit the training and physical skills to operate a motor vehicle. Both diminish with age, but there are plenty of younger people who couldn't pass a real test, and therefore don't deserve to be operating vehicles on the roads.

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