Archive for Tuesday, January 30, 2007

KU student killed in rollover accident on county road

Authorities: Car went out of control where pavement switched to gravel road

January 30, 2007, 5:42 a.m. Updated January 30, 2007, 12:13 p.m.


Law enforcement officials work a rollover accident this morning that killed one person and injured another. The accident occurred about 2:30 a.m. on Douglas County Road 1600E east of Lawrence.

Law enforcement officials work a rollover accident this morning that killed one person and injured another. The accident occurred about 2:30 a.m. on Douglas County Road 1600E east of Lawrence.

One man was killed and a second man was injured in a rollover accident early today on a county road east of Lawrence.

Kansas University student Kyle Weston Almeida, 23, was killed when he was ejected from a 1997 Ford Taurus in the accident, which occurred around 2:30 a.m. today on East 1600 Road - also known as O'Connell Road, south of Kansas Highway 10.

Almeida, from Warrensburg, Mo., was driving the car and was not wearing a seatbelt. The passenger, Tim S. Beggs, 26, Lawrence, suffered minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene. Beggs was wearing a seatbelt, the Douglas County Sheriff's office said Tuesday.

Officers said the vehicle was heading south on the asphalt and it appeared the driver lost control where the pavement switched from pavement to gravel, rolling over several times.

The car rolled more than once and came to rest just south of the property of Randy and Debbie Mills in the road's west ditch.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Tuesday that the university would miss Almeida, a senior majoring in architecture.

"On behalf of the entire KU community, I want to express profound sorrow at the tragic death of Kyle Almeida," Hemenway said. "I offer our deepest sympathies to Kyle's family and friends."

The cause of the wreck is still under investigation.

For more on this story, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of tomorrow's Journal-World.


Sigmund 11 years, 2 months ago

Guess which one was wearing their seatbelt.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

"it is believed to have lost control when the road switched from pavement to gravel"

I specifically brought this issue up when the city was planning to widen O'Connell Road. I also mentioned how fast vehicles travel south onto the gravel road. It was just a matter of time before something like this happened.

My condolences to the family of the man who was killed.

doc1 11 years, 2 months ago

Jean: that issue really isn't an issue. The city can't wipe everybody's nose and keep everyone safe when they control their own driving. That area is fine.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, doc1, but it IS an issue. I live in the area and see the traffic there daily. Do you?

The speed limit sign on the gravel road was knocked down SEVERAL years ago by a vehicle. It was never put back up. Finally, one of the people in the neighborhood picked it up and nailed it to a telephone pole.

There also could be better "warning" signage for the change from pavement to gravel.

theifoncross 11 years, 2 months ago

Any body know for sure if this was north or south of town or who i can call? thanks i am just worried

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

It's on the east side of Lawrence. South off of 23rd St.

compmd 11 years, 2 months ago

Um, I may be wrong, but East 1600 Road is outside the city limits right? Doesn't that make it the county's problem, not Lawrence's? I've never had a problem heading north on East 1500 north of North 7th Street where the recently repaved road turns into gravel. And that's going 55mph. I don't even think there is a speed limit sign up there any more. I'm going with conceptual_continuity on this one.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

I'll try again. My other post didn't "take".

Of course the City will deny ANY responsibility or try to shift blame to the County just as they've done on other issues involving that area.

The issue is: they were told BEFORE O'Connell was ever widened that there was the potential for this kind of accident. However, just like other issues brought to them about this area, they waived it aside as the people bringing the issues up were not 1) developers, 2) rich, or 3) engineers.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

Oh...another potential for a deadly accident in that area: just after changing to gravel, there is a small hill that cars coming from the south traveling north can't see over. If there is a car turning onto O'Connell from 1300 Rd, depending on the speed of the car going north, there could be a collision.

justagirl 11 years, 2 months ago

So I got this call early today that my good friend was killed in a car wreck. I got online because I just couldn't believe that it was possible, but there it was.... one man killed. I cannot believe that all of you get on this blog and use other peoples' suffering and pain to "dog" on the city or the speed that people drive. An awesome young man was killed and the only thing you all want to do is complain and make assumptions. Think of others for once you selfish people! This young man has a family and friends who more than anything wanted the best for him. Only once on this blog have I seen someone show any sympathy. If your son, best friend, etc... was killed, would you appreciate all of these negative comments? Think about who is reading what you write and show your respect for the family!

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

justagirl---I am truly sorry for the loss of your friend. Please see my first post where I offered my condolences to his family.

However, the reason I am "dogging" on the City is that they tend to ignore/shift blame/etc for problems THEY created. Had they addressed this potential problem when it was first presented to them, your friend ~might~ still be alive.

If I were the young man's family, I would be doing some serious questioning about the safety issues in that area rather than just accepting the idea that it was ALL the drivers fault.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

AND.....I hope the City will do something before another person has to lose their life.

Centrist 11 years, 2 months ago

I believe the purpose of the "blog" is to discuss any and all aspects of the story.

If we talk about the state of the road, or how people drive, I think that's fine. It raises awareness to isses, etc.

For example, the question might be raised: why were they out there at 2.30am? Was speed involved? Which one was killed? Driver or passenger? Fair questions, in my view.

But we still need to be sensitive. Someone just lost their very life. That's the ultimate of all sacrifices, our very existence. So let's keep it civil, thoughtful, and TALK.

Centrist 11 years, 2 months ago

At what point does 1600 Rd turn into gravel? Is it a little before the intersection of N 900 Rd as you head South?

Because if it is, there is a bit of a dangerous 'corner there leading into the gravel.

Maybe some of us won't be so quick to judge, eh?

doc1 11 years, 2 months ago

Jean. It's the drivers responsability to adjust to road conditions. If he would have been going the posted speed for that road he would have not lost control. It's not the city's fault if people are the hazard more than the road. That area is not bad as you make it seem. Why do people like to always blame the government.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

doc1.....I am not about trying to always "blame the government". I agree that the driver probably was going too fast for the road conditions. However, the City was told that this was a potential problem and they chose to ignore it. As I said, if you are not a developer, have money, or "position"; the City could care less what you think.

Also, go back and read my post about the posted speed sign for that road.

I rarely see cars obeying the speed limit on that road EXCEPT for the people who live in the County in that area!

Emily Hadley 11 years, 2 months ago

What a shame. That change from wide paved road to narrow gravel is pretty drastic. If you are not familiar with the roads, the switch can be startling.

When the paved road has a rough surface, it can be difficult to see the drop off coming. There are usually warning signs; I don't know if there is one warning the end of the paved road at this location, but again, if there are other distracting factors, it is easy to miss a sign.

The switch is only about a 1/3 mile from a roundabout, right? It's too bad that going through that intersection wasn't enough to slow them down.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

doc1---just so you know, I would consider myself a conservative and very supportive of our "government" as a general rule. However, the City of Lawrence's "government" is a joke.

braden_quinn 11 years, 2 months ago

That area is county or the sheriffs department wouldn't be working the accident.

galfromku 11 years, 2 months ago

News from the University of Kansas



  • KU chancellor offers condolences to family of Kyle Almeida

LAWRENCE- University of Kansas Chancellor Robert E. Hemenway made the following statement in response to the death this morning of Kyle Almeida, 23, a Warrensburg, Mo. senior majoring in architecture. Almeida died in a one-car accident in rural Douglas County east of Lawrence. Almeida was a 2002 graduate of Warrensburg High School.

"On behalf of the entire KU community, I want to express profound sorrow at the tragic death of Kyle Almeida. I offer our deepest sympathies to Kyle's family and friends. He will be missed."

¢ Media contact: Jackie Hosey, University Relations, (785) 864-8858,


Harry_Manback 11 years, 2 months ago

I think commenting should be disabled for stories like this from now on. I've seen plenty of other stories just like this one, and I don't think any good can come from allowing anonymous commenting on stories of death announcements. Some people have no respect, and it's not like they allow commenting (aside from expressing condolences) on obituary pages, so I don't see how this is any different.

justagirl 11 years, 2 months ago

I totally agree with you Harry. People always jump to conclusions right away and the fact of the matter is not about the city of Lawrence, the county roads, or how fast a person was driving. The real story is that someone lost their life and no matter who or what is at fault that person is gone from us. Condolences should be the only discussion necessary.

guesswho 11 years, 2 months ago

To say this is to 'learn the hard way' is completely and utterly callous. Do you blame 3,000+ people for their own deaths for being in the wrong spot at the wrong time (World Trade Center on 9/11/01?) No one deserves this. How tragic, and my heart goes out to the family and friends of this young man.

CeeCee 11 years, 2 months ago

I agree with you Harry and justagirl, many people don't think before they type in these situations.

However, had it not been for Jean1183 bringing it to our attention, the majority of us would never know that stretch of road is questionable when it comes to being safe and that citizens in that area have raised their concerns about it to authorities and have not seen any resolution.

First and foremost, my condolences are with the young mans family and friends. I also want to thank Jean1183 for letting us all know about the questionable safety of that area. Unfortunately, it often takes many people to raise an awareness to a problem and get appropriate action, and forums like this in this unfortunate situation may be the springboard needed to get the ball rolling.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 years, 2 months ago

Jean1183 is right in bringing the conditions of the road to someone's attention, but it is a county road, so the you need to bring it to the attention of the county commissioners, not the city. Unlike Wyandotte county these are 2 separate levels of government. Complaining to the city does not work, because they don't have the authority to do anything about it. Call the correct people, and maybe something will be done.

Bryan Wilcox 11 years, 2 months ago

Well said, Pywacket.

I'm very sorry to hear about this accident but when will people learn to just wear their seatbelts? This person would most likely still be alive right now regardless of the road conditions, driving conditions etc if they'd just followed that very basic and obvious law. The passenger walked away from this accident with minor bruises because they wore their seatbelt!

Lilfish338 11 years, 2 months ago

Jean If you were to reread the title of the article, which states "KU student killed in a rollover accident on a COUNTY ROAD", it easily shows that the student was killed on a county road, outside of the city limits. If you have a problem with the county road, take it up with one of our county commissioners. Also, O'Connell is not the only highly traveled county road out there that is experiencing problems with speeders and what not drivers. I was born and raised on a county, dirt road and of course I have seen my share of accidents due to road problems, but I have not blamed it on the CITY government. Douglas County as a whole needs to get together with our townships and fix these roads before anyone else is injured or killed.

Crispian Paul 11 years, 2 months ago

Posted by Mr_Ramirez (anonymous) on January 30, 2007 at 9:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Some people learn the hard way."

Nice post CC. Feel better about yourself now?

"I think i'll wake up, shower, eat some breakfast, and then trash a young man you was just killed in a tragic accident"

Your parent would be proud!


Justagirl, I am sorry for your loss and the callous way people on here sometimes talk about the people in teh stories as if they are not humans with families and friends who loved them. Unfortunately, some people take their right to free speech (which I certainly support) to allow themselves to be just plain tacky and hurtful.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

Is the paved part of O'Connell a county road?

I know that the accident happened on the gravel part--which is actually a township road--but it was due to losing control after going from the paved part to the gravel part.

How many lethal accidents have happened on that road in the last 28 years before the widening of O'Connell and the sudden "drop-off" to the existing gravel? NONE.

Jeteras 11 years, 2 months ago

This is where a "CITY" road meets a "TOWNSHIP" road. Unpaved roads in this county are maintained by their respective Townships unless it is a "County Route". I am sure that portion of the road is annexed into the city. The switch from pavement to gravel is a city problem depending if there is a link agreement with the township and how it reads for signage. Unfortunately signs cannot put our seat belts on for us. Buckle up, it is sad we have to lose people to realize it.

6mom 11 years, 2 months ago

First, and most importantly my sympathy goes out to the family, friends and anyone else affected by this tragic accident.

Now, I live where this accident occured last evening and travel that road daily. It IS in serious need of repair where it changes from pavement to dirt do to pot holes. So while the other things mentioned may be relavent we all should show some compassion to those people affected by this tragedy.

Jean1183 11 years, 2 months ago

Oh.....and that road is used much more by the CITY residents in Prairie Park than by the people in the county/township. It's just another way for them to avoid 23rd Street traffic (which is a whole topic unto itself).

carac 11 years, 2 months ago

Thank you, Harry, for your considerate entry. As the mother of the young man who survived this accident, I can tell you that the comments by doc1, cc and others are very hurtful. We are mourning the loss of a friend and grieving for his family. The survivor is struggling to cope with the loss of his friend, and we are struggling to support him in his grief.

I urge the Journal World to do the proper thing and prohibit inane comments about such terrible tragedies like this one. No more comments should be allowed on a blog such as this.

kj 11 years, 2 months ago

Carac, I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my folks in a car accident last January. People can say some very rude things. In my case it was about my step-fathers age and that he was driving. People did not know the whole story. I even found a picture of their wreck on a website that was dedicated to wrecks. That was devastating. I really don't think the majority of people who are commenting mean to be so insensitive. I think they are just trying to get the point acrossed that something needs to be done about the condition of the road. My thoughts are with your family and with the other family.

jmgladfelter 11 years, 2 months ago

My cousin was the unfortunate one to die in this accident. My family is beside themselves. Thanks to most of you who could leave kind remarks and sympathy. For those of you with nothing else to do but condem my cousin, you need to think before you have the taste of your sock down your throat! His sister and parents are grieving and hopefully they won't see this blog. He was such a great person, our family has suffered a tremendous loss.

Kontum1972 11 years, 2 months ago

well being an awesome young man doesnt excuse him from not wearing a seat belt..obtw (its the law)....get it!

his buddy is as much to blame too, if he didnt tell the awesome young man to buckle-up....

a few weeks ago someone died because they were not wearing the BELT...thrown from the car....DEAD!


SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES.....if he would of made it click he would be here now..and probably a much better driver...

                               ITS THE LAW!
                   50.00 FINE FIRST OFFENSE!
                               ITS THE LAW!

it does not matter how the road changes from pavement to gravel....its the person behind the wheel who controls the destiny of themselves and their passengers!

shirinisb 11 years, 2 months ago




Death sucks. Most of us has had it happened and had to deal with that "aftertime" where inconsiderate comments were made. My dad died from smoking cigarettes. People make comments like "yeah he was going he shoulda stopped" it sucked. You move on.

I am sorry if I have to sound inconsiderate but you cannot tell a newspaper not to allow commentary on their website. They are protected by one of the most sacred documents in the history of our country.

klmammo 11 years, 2 months ago

KJ, if you don't want to see pictures of wrecks, don't go trolling websites that post pictures of wrecks. Plain and simple.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

It was a tragic accident, and I'm sorry that a young man was killed.

I do think that the condition of the road, however, and whether or not the speed limit and the change from pavement to gravel is posted along the road is very relevant.

I fail to understand why people who have lost loved ones and are grieving stop by places like this to look at the posts. It's the last thing I would do if I was in that position.

If you do not want to read anything negative about your loved one or the situation, then do not come here. You are only tormenting yourselves.

Because we do have freedom of speech in this country, and people have a right to voice their opinions. If they are hurtful to you, then don't read them.

RRICE 11 years, 2 months ago

Ok someone died.. have some respect..lawrence is so crazy everyone wants to throw in their two cents..but have some respect people.. how would you all feel if this was your kid??? My prayers go out to this family

andrew55 11 years, 2 months ago

Seatbelts save lives. Speed kills. God have mercy on his soul.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

If this was my kid, I sure as hell wouldn't be stopping in here to read posts. I'd have other things on my mind...

lessj71 11 years, 2 months ago

These people are real. I for one know 3 people who were Kyle's best friends. They are all sitting around waiting for family members to come in from out of town. Some of them are reading this article to see what happened to their cousin or friend, and to see if anyone of his friends go on to say something wonderful about him. Kyle was a great guy and he will be truly missed, please SHOW Respect for families and friends in mourning and keep your negative comments for some other time and place. My comment is real my sister was one of his best friends.

galfromku 11 years, 2 months ago

I have two things to say. My father died recently and we got online to see if the obituary was on the website. If someone dear to me was in a terrible accident I would certainly look at the article about it. If it led me to a blog, I'd check that out too.

The other thing I have to ask is sometimes people put crosses on sites where people die in car wrecks. My question is how long do you all feel is appropriate to keep them up. I mean, a year later, two years later? I go by a place that still has a personal memorial there years later. What about the people who own the land where the grieving family put the cross. Do they have to leave it up forever as a courtesy to the family, and mow around it and everything.

I am not trying to be a smart ass, but more like trying to genuinely get the proper ettiquite for this. I know if is was my land, I would be understanding for a while, but eventually would want thee family to take it down. After all.... their loved one is not there. It would be a constant reminder to me of the horrible thing that happened.

Harry_Manback 11 years, 2 months ago

My good friend and former roommate died in a car accident 1.5 years ago. She was only 20. She was wearing her seat belt, but still died. Her sister wasn't, was thrown from the car and still managed to survive for a few months. Needless to say, buckling up doesn't always save your life (although I still think you should do it.)

As soon as I heard about my friend's accident, the first thing I did was google it to make sure it was real. For some reason, seeing the police report online and the story the next day in the paper made it real in a way that a friend calling to tell me couldn't.

I see the reason for commenting on road conditions, etc., but to bash someone for dying is just awful. I don't care if they were drunk, high, speeding, not wearing seatbelt, etc. - the way they died doesn't devalue the fact that a human life was lost.

I mean, do you know how you're going to die?

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