Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Driver hits downtown mailman

Postal carrier in stable condition after collision at Seventh and New Hampshire

February 2, 2007


Local mail carrier seriously injured while crossing the street

Downtown mail carrier Jerry Totten was seriously injured today after he was hit by a truck while trying to cross the street. It happened this morning at the intersection of Seventh and New Hampshire. Enlarge video

Lawrence's sole walking-only postman - who rarely, if ever, stepped foot inside a mail truck - was struck Thursday morning while crossing a downtown street.

Lawrence mail carrier Jerry Totten, 56, was hit by a truck while crossing Seventh Street on the east side of New Hampshire Street. Totten has delivered mail on foot downtown for the past 12 years.

"He's a fixture here in the downtown area," said Richard Watkins, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service. "We're keeping him in our prayers, obviously."

The truck, driven by Gale T. Willey, 56, of Lawrence, hit Totten while the postal worker was walking south toward Borders Books and Music. Willey was turning left from New Hampshire onto Seventh Street.

Lawrence police Sgt. Paul Fellers said the southbound green light gave Totten the right of way, but police were continuing to investigate the accident.

Totten was taken by ambulance to Watson Park at Sixth and Kentucky streets, where he was flown by helicopter to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. He remained in stable condition Thursday night. Over the years, the 36-year post office veteran has made dear friends of shop owners and managers downtown - delivering the morning mail with a flair as unique as downtown itself, retailers said.

Borders manager Ron Wilson said Totten made the trek from the back of the store to the front every day without fail, greeting employees with a smile to match the flash of his uniform's barrage of buttons and pins.

"It made him stand out from the other postmen," Wilson said. "He fit in with the individual store owners."

Brian Harris, owner of video game salon Game Guy, 7 E. Seventh St., said he would always notice Totten's buttons but was never quick enough to ask about them.

"He was out the door," Harris said. "He was a real drop-and-go guy. He's got a lot of mail to carry."

With Totten's condition apparently less severe than some may have originally thought, Watkins said his co-workers hope that he'll be back carrying all that mail sooner than later.


moosejeffries 11 years, 2 months ago

airlift from osage city ks. to topeka ks. is 5 grand

Dan Alexander 11 years, 2 months ago

He's deffinately a lawrence icon, does his business and keeps headin down the road. Glad to hear that he is stable and not hurt too critically. See you soon Jerry.

Kat Christian 11 years, 2 months ago

My thoughts are with him and I hope he recovers soon.

Adrienne Sanders 11 years, 2 months ago

[quote]Is LMH that bad it can't handle routine calls?[/quote]

Yes. If I or my loved ones were seriously injured, it'd be worth the $$ to get to KU med center rather than take your chances at LMH.

tot 11 years, 2 months ago

Get Well Soon downtown mailman! You are sorely missed!

4bjwest 11 years, 2 months ago

Why are some of you concerned about the cost of the helicopter ride? YOU don't have to pay for it! Jerry is not out of the woods yet- there may still be swelling in the brain and require a good neurosurgeon for surgery. I don't think this is "routine." Pray for him and his wife and child.

skinny 11 years, 2 months ago


Why are we so quick to helicopter patients to out of town hospitals? Is LMH that bad it can't handle routine calls?

These helicopter rides cost a lot and it seems like a needless expense to someone.

Because Lawrence does not have a trauma unit!

Linda Aikins 11 years, 2 months ago

Good grief! He obviously had head injuries, and in that case, time is NOT on your side. In those cases, they will helicopter a patient to KU Med to get them on specialized treatment asap just to be safe. 1000 points for silliest post so far this year.

Hang in there Jerry and family! You will be just fine. Big hug to Mrs. Jerry!

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 2 months ago

Holy smokes. Good thoughts to Jerry and fam.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 2 months ago

Another driver in Lawrence not paying attention? What a surprise! The only surprising thing is that it wasn't a drunken college kid.

PAY ATTENTION ON THE ROADS FOLKS. I think anyone (that is to say ANYONE) who strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist and is at fault should lose their license--no exception. Of course I realize that isn't likely since drunk drivers don't even have that happen to them even after multiple instances.


planetwax 11 years, 2 months ago

Jerry, hang in there! We're all thinking of you and you'll be missed while you recover!!!!

Janet :)

machiavelli 11 years, 2 months ago

Jeff comes in and gets my mail every day and he's a really nice guy. JEFF, GET WELL SOON, MAN!!!!!!

RonBurgandy 11 years, 2 months ago

They were both the same age, interesting.

Get well Jerry!

Richard Heckler 11 years, 2 months ago

roger_o_thornhill the report may or may not prove you correct. Which one is it? Was the driver simply not paying attention?There are not obstacles blocking views.

Twice in the past 4 months while crossing at that intersection cell phone drivers did not realize pedestrians were in the crosswalk until they were well into their left turns. The looks on their faces were the telling factor. Some can deal with phones but it never appears to be the majority of experiences.

Sounds like he'll back on the streets sooner rather than later... that is good news.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 2 months ago

If you pray, please say an extra special one for him today. If you don't, push good thoughts toward KC.

justjoe 11 years, 2 months ago

All of downtown's thoughts and prayers are with Jerry and Joda....MUCH LOVE BROTHA'

mechman 11 years, 2 months ago

plumberscrack LMH is NOT a TRAUMA CENTER first officers on scene coded Jerry code red (critiacl) massive head injuries THAT WAS REASON FOR CHOPPER!!!!!!!! GET U A SCANNER

News_to_me 11 years, 2 months ago

Word to the wise-STAY OUT OF CROSSWALKS! You got a better chance if you just dart in front of traffic. Apparently, fines in this town are not stiff enough to deter people from breaking traffic laws. Time to ramp it up! I'm thinking about installing a camera on my dash and doing a little vigilante work. Definitely carrying a club if I am crossing the street. Now we have a good reason for concealed carry permits.

Dayna Lee 11 years, 2 months ago

All you have to do is jaywalk at the same spot everyday and then convince your friends to do the same...the city will install a cross walk for you and during busy times a police officer will sit and watch for you. Ask any LJW employee.

My best wishes to this family. I hope everyone that reads this puts down their phones, donuts, lipstick; and puts on their glasses, cleans off their windsheild and realizes that people DO cross at the crosswalks!!!! (and sometimes the not cross walks)

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