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Archive for Tuesday, September 11, 2007

2 road crew workers killed in hit and run

U.S. 59 repaving project suspended until next week

Area emergency personnel work the scene of a hit-and-run accident where two construction workers on U.S. Highway 59 were killed Sept. 11 between North 800 and 900 roads at Pleasant Grove. Construction crews had been repaving the road.

Area emergency personnel work the scene of a hit-and-run accident where two construction workers on U.S. Highway 59 were killed Sept. 11 between North 800 and 900 roads at Pleasant Grove. Construction crews had been repaving the road.

September 11, 2007

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2 men killed in hit and run

An accident on Highway 59 this morning ended with the deaths of two construction workers and a chase for the suspects. Enlarge video

The front end and windshield of a 2002 Chevrolet Pickup truck show damage after a hit and run that killed two highway workers south of Lawrence.

The front end and windshield of a 2002 Chevrolet Pickup truck show damage after a hit and run that killed two highway workers south of Lawrence.

Highway 59 accident

Footage of emergency crews responding to the scene of the fatal accident on Highway 59. Enlarge video

Statement about fatal accident

Lt. Kari Wempe, Douglas County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman, gives the official statement about the accident on U.S. Highway 59. Enlarge video

Two construction workers were killed in an accident Tuesday morning, south of Lawrence

Investigators are trying to determine why a motorist barreled through a construction area Tuesday morning, killing two highway workers.

Two women were taken into custody when the truck they were traveling in was stopped by law enforcement officers after an 11-mile chase that led into Osage County. A spike strip was used to flatten two of the truck's tires. Charges are pending.

"The investigation will probably take a number of days," said Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. John Eichkorn.

Eichkorn declined to speculate on the circumstances of the incident that occurred shortly before 10 a.m. on U.S. Highway 59, 4 miles south of Lawrence at the south edge of Pleasant Grove.

"I think it is important to let the investigators gather all of the information necessary before we make a determination," he said.

One of the victims was identified as Tyrone T. Korte, 30, of Seneca, an engineering technician who had worked for the Kansas Department of Transportation since 2002. The second victim was Rolland "Ron" Griffith, 24, of El Dorado, an employee with Dustrol Inc. of Towanda, a contractor for the highway repaving project that began Monday. Griffith had worked for Dustrol for less than a year, said Jean Thompson, the firm's safety director.

Both were wearing safety vests, officers said.

The women in the truck, a 2002 Chevy with South Dakota plates, were Ramona I. Morgan, 48, and Sabrina J. Morgan, 26, both of Chewelah, Wash. Authorities said Ramona Morgan was the driver. The women were detained and being interviewed in Osage County, Eichkorn said Tuesday evening. It was not clear whether they were under arrest or in jail.

At the scene

Lauretta Hendricks Backus, a retired art teacher who lives southwest of Lawrence, was taking her cat to the Baldwin Junction Veterinary Clinic when she saw the first signs of trouble.

As she traveled south on U.S. Highway 59, construction narrowed the road to one lane, while a worker standing in the roadway carried a stop sign to hold up traffic. Backus slowed down; the truck ahead of her did not.

"There's this one truck ahead of me," Backus said Tuesday evening. "And I see the flag person waving frantically, like 'Stop, stop, stop!'"

The truck did not stop, Backus said, instead driving ahead - striking the stop sign and snapping it in half, speeding up over the hill and out of sight. The worker, unharmed, frantically began calling to her colleagues on the other side of the hill to warn them about the truck.

Backus soon learned that two construction workers were hit.

Douglas County Sheriff's officers and Highway Patrol troopers along with area fire and ambulance crews responded to the incident after emergency dispatchers received a 911 call. Because of the construction project, traffic was already narrowed down to one lane. Flaggers and pilot cars were guiding traffic through the 3-mile work zone. Traffic soon backed up for more than a mile in both directions from the crash scene.

At 10:12 a.m., a Highway Patrol trooper saw the truck on U.S. Highway 56, Eichkorn said. The trooper attempted to stop the truck and a pursuit began. The chase ended 10 minutes later south of Scranton after Osage County officers deployed spikes on the highway.

U.S. 59 was blocked to through traffic at Douglas County Road 458 north of the accident scene and North 650 Road south of the scene. Special accident investigative teams from the Highway Patrol and sheriff's office were called. That section of the highway remained closed late Tuesday night. Eichkorn said he expected the highway to reopen by this morning's rush hour.

Both lanes will be open this morning. The repaving project has been suspended until next week.

Highway accidents

Two KDOT workers were killed in construction zone accidents in 2005. They were the first employees killed since November 1997.

Yong Bai, assistant professor in Kansas University's School of Engineering, said accidents in highway working zones are a serious problem, but rarely do they involve construction workers. According to a 2006 study Bai helped conduct for KDOT about work zone accidents, there were 15,434 work-zone crashes reported in Kansas and 39 percent, or 4,600 of them, involved injuries or fatalities between Jan. 1, 1992, and Dec. 31, 2004.

Most work-zone crashes occur in daylight and when there are no adverse weather conditions.

"Most of the time, we find that people just do not pay attention when they approach a work zone," Bai said.

That comes as no surprise to Mike Perkins, manager of operations at the Douglas County Public Works Department.

"Probably the biggest problem you see today is inattention," Perkins said. "Working on a highway is a dangerous job. It is a frightening experience."

Managing editor for convergence Joel Mathis contributed to this report.

Comments

kayakncolo 7 years, 3 months ago

Why were both women jailed, I wonder... Log- your way out of line....My prayers go out to families..

openminded 7 years, 3 months ago

log-it is clear that you don't live out here and see that this widening is a NEED. Primarily for us, the DG residents. I appreciate your opinion but if you don't live out here and drive that hiway everyday, how can you comment like that? That hiway has moved residents out of their homes, taken their farm land, cattle grounds, businesses, etc. This is something that needs to be done for us, the people who live here and want something better. If you are so against KDOT, move! I'm sure there are other states that need your complaining...

olddude71 7 years, 3 months ago

log If you are so much against KDOT and what they do, why do you drive on their highways? Why not take the back roads from Lawrence to Ottawa? Just think what the highways would be like without KDOT. About the tragic wreck at Zarco, the woman ran a stop sign. What does that have to do with any curb cut?

My thoughts are with the families and friends of the young men that died yesterday.

compmd 7 years, 3 months ago

"It was not clear whether they were under arrest or in jail."

In jail implies being under arrest...

openminded 7 years, 3 months ago

It was an awful accident that just happen to occur while KDOT was in our neighborhood. After many years of neglect, that highway needed to be redone and why not right before the new one comes in? It will be a frontage road and turned over to the county for maint. so KDOT is doing DG county residents a favor in the long run. log-do you live out here by the accident? I do and am deeply moved by this whole thing.

During construction of the new highway, there will be lots of traffic on the old one, another reason to repave. Logic is behind everything KDOT does. I agree, wake the hell up and stop speaking from your pocketbook instead of your brain.

I am sorry for the losses-my thoughts are with the families.

Joe Hyde 7 years, 3 months ago

Only speculation on my part, but KDOT may have ordered this section of U.S. 59 repaved now because once the Ottawa/Lawrence Freeway is completed the "old" highway will be turned over to Franklin and Douglas counties and officially become a paved county road -- at which time the two counties assume future maintenance costs. (Money that won't be easy to find given today's tight budgets.)

In other words, KDOT is doing us a favor by repaving the highway now at state expense; the roadway is being put in prime condition before ownership gets transferred to us.

This accident -- if it is one, and not a deliberate vehicular homicide -- is tragic. I drove through that repaving zone Monday afternoon. It's a very busy work site, congested with lots of personnel and equipment, and the crew is doing very nice work.

Hit and run. Two road crew workers killed. Spike strip required to stop the fleeing driver. "The book" is about to get thrown at somebody.

Chicago_JHawk 7 years, 3 months ago

log- An article about the unfortunate, preventable deaths of two highway workers doesn't seem to be the appropriate forum for your complaints about KDOT and their "misuse of taxpayer dollars". Take your comments elsewhere. Why not contact KDOT with your concerns?

CindiCat 7 years, 3 months ago

Again, I will offer my prayers to the families. So tragic.

As for LOG's posts/comments who is notorious for his/her "2 cents".........I think everyone else has taken care of that for me and I honestly have nothing else to add to that.

openminded 7 years, 3 months ago

comp-you can be detained and not be under arrest.

trinity 7 years, 3 months ago

log, geez...just can it woulda ya? take your soapbox someplace else.

heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and neighbors in this area whose lives have been affected by this.

samsnewplace 7 years, 3 months ago

nanashi04 I agree with everything you've just said, log go crawl under a table somewhere because no one wants to hear you on this blog. My sympathy to both families in their loss.

busymom 7 years, 3 months ago

So are you saying that KDOT should be the ones on trial?

Thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the workers.

booze_buds_03 7 years, 3 months ago

Being the construction engineer that log thinks he is as well as assuming that he knows everything there is to know about this project, I can see why he is posting such inane comments. Sounds to me like they were trying to repave a section of road that needed it before construction started on the 4 lane highway. Maybe they were trying to make it safer, so that as increased traffic and larger vehicles use the road during construction, the road would hold up and stay safe. Under the same faulty logic that log uses, I will then blame the make of inefficient combustion engines, the wheel and last but not least fire.

Nanashi04 7 years, 3 months ago

This is such a sad story, that two people so young were killed just doing their job. It's terrible the things you hear about today, and I find it disturbing how so many people have become so used to bad news that it no longer affects them. Instead, they would rather bicker over a vaguely related issue...

That really is not fair to the family and friends of those two people, and rather insensitive to those who will continue to work on that road (or any road). It doesn't really matter if the highway needs redone or not, it's still going to happen, it's already started. Now is a bit late to be debating the issue. If nothing else, remember that those highway workers have families to feed just like the rest of us.

I send my best to the families, friends, and fellow workers.

n8n2010 7 years, 3 months ago

Technically US-59 is not being repaved. KDOT is using a process called hot in-place surface recycling, saving the tax payers a significant chunk of $. Appoximately half of what a repave would cost.

For more info.... http://www.dustrol.com

Centrist 7 years, 3 months ago

log ... you're a bloody idiot.

'nuff said.

domino 7 years, 3 months ago

Riverat was probably on the right track - I know from talking with a former KDOT employee that many when a new section of road is going to be layed and an older road turned over to the county, the KDOT is required to repair the existing roadway (or bridge) to meet certain specifications. I wouldn't go so far as to say the KDOT was "doing us a favor" but rather, doing what was required. Log is entitled to his opinion but I feel he choose a poor way to express it when families are suffering as these are.

My sympathies to the families of these two young men. Such a needless loss and tragedy. My prayers are with you.

Centrist 7 years, 3 months ago

A decent highway is ABSOLUTELY needed between Lawrence & Ottawa, for all drivers, not just trucks. And if the new road is a couple of years away, well, why not repave. KDOT are simply doing their job.

What next? Should we argue that no roads in Lawrence should be fixed, just in case someone else does this? Give me a break. This was a horrible accident, caused by the actions of one driver. It was the driver who erred, not KDOT, who are simply doing what they need to do.

It's still unbelievable that someone would race through a construction zone. I just don't understand the stupidity of humans any more. I hope they throw the book at these people. Actual lives were lost. Let's not forget that.

cousin 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank you to all for your sympathy comments. Log, my cousin was killed in that accident. This is not the place to complain. Take it to KDOT directly if you have a problem.

dirkleisure 7 years, 3 months ago

log - the reason KDOT is resurfacing this road is to handle the top-secret traffic on its way to Manhattan when the new Bio-Terror facility is built.

Duh.

Everyone, you need to realize that the paving of "old" 59, the bio-terror facility in Manhattan, and the birds which occasionally crap on log's roof are part of a massive government conspiracy to destroy our society.

Join logrithmic... or pay the consequences!

Seriously, if logrithmic wanted to post something worthwhile, he would explain to us why he still matters in a world where a calculator costs $0.99 at Wal Mart.

maveric 7 years, 3 months ago

Anonymous user

logrithmic (Anonymous) says:

I've not said anything to dishonor the families of these workers or the workers themselves.

Anonymous user

logrithmic (Anonymous) says:

This road did not need repaving. And as all know, in a couple of years the road will be rebuilt as a 4-lane highway and the portion that is being repaved will be turned into a service road, thus a total of 6 lanes from Lawrence to Ottawa.

Beyond the blame assigned to the woman who actually struck the workers, KDOT is responsible for this taxpayer ripoff. Without the ripoff, there would have been NO hit and run.

BOY you got allot of balls and nerves to down talk people who make roads you drive on and to make them better, who are you to degrade the poeples family like you are and also by your post I posted above stating (KDOT is responsible for this taxpayer ripoff. Without the ripoff, there would have been NO hit and run.) rip off lol, then stop driving on the freakin road and go back to your gravel ways lil punk, people like you are a disgrace for the society and I would knock you out for both workers killed and there families because you have no heart and your lowlife trailer park trash behind should of never made the most rudest comments I ever seen for people who provide your lowlife a road to drive on you lil punk, I wanna knock you out so bad it aint funny grow up and be a man or what ever you are but as I see you, your nothin to society to me to leave heartless and rude comments so pay your taxes you scam artist and git a real life trailer park trash, people like you that have no heart make me sick and need to have your account removed and blocked from here permanately by starting with your IP address through your IP provider and your account here, people like you don't need to be here PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

bmelm 7 years, 3 months ago

Hey log. The death of the school teacher had nothing to do with the curb area by Zarco. She was headed west on 460 and ran the stop sign. I live adjacent to 59 and travel it daily. I don't see a problem with pulling in and out of Zarco at a 45. I actually find it easier than pulling out onto 59 from a 90. The bigger problem is when trucks park there 5 ft from the road so you can't see when you are pulling out. I think it is better to REFINISH the road now than to wait until it has become past the point of being a nuicance to drivers. And you are only going to end up with a 4 lane hwy. There are still businesses and people that will live on the old 59 used as a frontage road. It's better thasn having a driveway that connects to a 70 MPH road I would think, or the having property on both sides of the road being used to repace the existing road.

Kelly Anderson 7 years, 3 months ago

SOOOOOO.....Anywho!!!

How 'bout them Jayhawks?

livinthedream 7 years, 3 months ago

Cousin-Sorry for your loss.
LOG-Cousin has a point-take is somewhere else.

bakergirl 7 years, 3 months ago

Log You can tell that you have never worked on road construction site. I have along with a lot of my family members. I also grew up with Ty. You act like they are trash tossed on the side of the road. Leave these families alone and shut your yap. I have seen so many accident while working for KDOT. Blame the people who are rushing to pass traffic by using the off ramp and speeding up the on ramp to save time. Guess what happens when doing this. They roll. Blame the truckers who fall asleep through road construction and hit flaggers. Should KDOT not fix any road since obviously every accident on our roadways is there fault. Or should we blame the teacher who did not teach Ramona the STOP! Guess this accident was the teachers fault. This was the actions of the driver and absolutely no on elses. How would you feel if this was your family? Or better yet you? Get a life!

My heart goes out to the Korte family and Rolands family.

Claire Williams 7 years, 3 months ago

Logrithmic: (isn't it acutally logarithm? Perhaps somebody stole your "a" along with your common sense and ability to research the issues.)

I used to drive this highway every day from Ottawa to Lawrence during 2000-2002. I still drive it (now the opposite way from Lawrence to Ottawa) about once a week. US 59 is a very heavily traveled road. I cannot count the times I have seen people in regular passenger vehicles (not semi trailers) pose risks to others by passing unsafely, speeding, or not watching/yielding at the 59/56 intersection (before they put in the stop signs). It is a dangerous highway, and I will be very happy to see it widened. At the US 56/59 intersection alone, between 2002 and 2005, 36 accidents occurred - 17 resulting in injuries.

Here is a direct link and some quotes of the KSDOT's evaluation of US 59 and the reasoning behind their decision to expand it to four lanes: http://www.ksdot.org/offTransInfo/News03/Web_US_59_ROD_NewsRelease.asp

"U.S. 59 was built as a two-lane highway in the 1920s to serve a rural population and to connect the relatively small towns of Ottawa and Lawrence. Today, U.S. 59 remains a two-lane highway, but now it is traveled by up to 10,000 vehicles every day. As this number increases, so does the number of accidents, injuries and overall safety concerns. From 1995-1999, U.S. 59 averaged an accident every 4.9 days, an injury every 9.5 days and a death every 5.4 months. This total accident figure is 25 percent higher than the number of accidents occurring on similar roadways throughout the state."

I would say that a 25% hike in the number of accidents compared to other two lane highways in the state is well worth the expense of widening it. As a taxpayer, I can get behind something that makes it safer for me and my loved onces.

Claire Williams 7 years, 3 months ago

"Local officials and residents requested that KDOT improve U.S. 59 to make it safer for travel. In 1997, KDOT began environmental studies and conceptual designs to evaluate the need for improvements to U.S. 59. In total, 17 alternative alignments were considered. The preferred alignment was selected for several reasons, which include: the proximity to the existing U.S. 59 increased the likelihood that the new freeway will be the most effective in attracting traffic from the existing U.S. 59; it creates opportunities for development along the western side of the existing U.S. 59 after it becomes a local access road; there is a potential to incorporate some of the existing right-of-way; and the preferred alignment would not adversely impact the rural setting as much as other alternatives."

It is obvious the state evaluated all of their options when choosing where to place it, and I appreciate knowing that the chosen course will use portions of existing right of way, and it will affect the area the least. For those of you wanting to see the enviornmental assessment of the impact the new 4 lane will have, you can go the the Douglas County Public Works Office, 1242 Massachusetts or to Ottawa City Hall, 101 S. Hickory Street to read it for yourself.

Additionally, regarding the recent repaving, it needed to be done. Portions of the highway (especially traveling up and down the hill near Pleasant Grove) were crumbling and worn. The new 4 lane isn't going to magically pop out of the KDOT's collective butt and be in place tomorrow. Construction will not be complete until somewhere in 2011, and in the meanwhile, it would be great to have a nicely paved version of US 59 to use until it opens.

Claire Williams 7 years, 3 months ago

Now log, I wish to address some things you said in your last post.

"And the first time I was made aware of the repaving of the existing 2-lane highway prior to the building of the 4-lane highway was when it was published in this paper, far too late to object to KDOT or anyone else."

Actuallly, as you can see from the link I posted earlier, the first reports on this came out 4 years ago, in 2003. Additionally, in June 2004, THIS PAPER posted an article in which the state asks for local input into the project: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2004/jun...

Then, two months later in August 2004, the meeting actually happened, and many people attended to give their 2 cents about the planned highway. Did YOU attend it? http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2004/aug...

Next: "I am not paid to be a watchdog of state agencies like KDOT. So to respond to them directly is ridiculous. Often decisions like repaving 59 highway are made behind closed doors without public scrutiny. You can stand by and let your tax dollars be wasted if you want. I for one will write and object to it as I see fit."

Didn't you just contradict yourself here? If responding to them directly is ridiculous, then why write to object to it? And as far as being decided behind closed doors, according to an article in the Ottawa Herald, the repaved portions "will become a county frontage road following the completion of a new four-lane expressway in Franklin and Douglas counties". So this repaving is part of the overall grand scheme of the project, not just some waste of money that is going to be torn up in a couple of years.

All in all, logrithmic, a pretty poor showing. Try to educate yourself about what a proposed project is actually doing before railing against it.

My heart goes out to the killed workers' families, and also any other workers on this project have my full support. You are doing a good thing for Douglas and Franklin county, please keep up the good work.

Finally to all, I apologize for the long posting. But I wanted to make sure that everybody (including log) had all the facts.

Claire

urrealbrite 7 years, 3 months ago

I was looking for the news article because my mother and her husband work on the crew that was affected by this traggic incident. I am disgusteded at the lack of education, compassion, empathy, and @#$%ing brains that you lack as a human being. You probably do not work for a living and can sit home on your computer collecting welfare and watch Jerry Springer. My mom and her husband work 14 hours a day in the Kansas heat with heavy equipment all day on there feet to ensure our roads are safe, they have a job to do, what the hell do you do to make this world a better place. PS. I hope you support our troops to ensure your freedom to type dum s@%t on a web site.

Tom Miller 7 years, 3 months ago

First, let me say my heart goes out to the families of the two men who were senslessly slaughtered by a woman who at the very LEAST is guilty of negligent homicide, and certain questions could and should be investigated concerning just what she WAS up to, if not paying attention to her surroundings...what, deep conversation? Talking on her cell phone? What? Or, were they treansporting something illicit, and just panicked? It really doesn't matter WHAT her/ their "excuse" is; her actions, including having to be chased down by law enforcement officers (thusly exposing many OTHER drivers and pedestrians to needless hazards from the resulting chase, ending ONLY by the application of stop-sticks, thusly creating ANOTHER potential crash hazard...) are absolutely reprehensible, and should certainly provide her with ample opportunity for her day in court to explain her actions or inactions...Second...Logrithmic...I read this post, tho I live many states away, for two reasons; the first, being a former resident of the charming town of Lawrence, I enjoy the current events of your town, albeit from a distance, and second, I competely enjoy the intelligent discourse provided in this forum. YOU, logrithmic, and your short-sighted, self-serving, insensitive, unfeeling, smug analysis (...which I believe if you note the first four letters of that word you discover from whence log spews forth his/her "perspectives"...) sully such a forum. I've read, with considerable interest, many diverse viewpoints put forth in this forum, and tho I frequently disagree with some of those views, will, would and HAVE defended the rights of those folks to put forth whatever point of view they so decide...I believe Voltaire said it best, but I digress...tho I heartily defend the right to spout whatever verbal wackiness you so desire, I/we also have the right to react, in like manner, to hurtful, harmful, sanctimonious diatribes such as yours, log...you, log, present yourself to be one of the most callous, insensitive, self-serving cretin jerks I've had the displeasure to encounter in quite some time. Please, if your opinions are no more well-thought-out than THAT, PLEASE. I/we implore you, keep them to yourself, and at the very least, do no more harm to the mourning family members, and friend and co-workers of these terribly unlucky men who did no more harm than to be doing their jobs, and to be in the wrong place at the wrong time...NOW, "Logrithmic", do everyone a huge favor, and shut th' H377 UP until SOMEthing quasi-intelligent can be produced.

Claire Williams 7 years, 3 months ago

herbalife4life1 (Anonymous) says:

"Ok, urrealbrite:.let's not call what highway workers do strenuous work, and while I do admit they stand in the sun(emphasis on stand):that is nowhere near the extremes of other jobs like working in a foundry, commercial fishing, working in the oil patch. I'm not taking anything away from the job, but let's call an apple an apple. Please Do Not politicize this thread:.lay off people!"

Sooo....because Discovery Channel hasn't made a show about road workers with Mike Rowe narrating... highway work isn't a strenuous job?

In 2000, OSHA estimated that there were 1,093 work zone fatalities around the country. On average, the CDC says that about 140 commercial fisherman die each year. Which job is more dangerous?

justthefacts 7 years, 3 months ago

Often times when someone is passionate and stubborn in attacking a particular person or entity, it is based upon something very personal - e.g. they have had a bad personal experience with that person or group. It is hard for many people to be rationale and/or factual if they are emotionally involved. Thus, you get people on these boards (and in life) who use any forum possible to attack a perceived "enemy" - and regard anyone who doesn't agree with them as siding with "the enemy." Seeing both sides of an issue is becoming rarer and rarer these days.....

Condolences to the family, friends, and cowokers of these two young men. No matter the cause(s) of their demise, losing a loved one so suddenly (and young) is very hard for those involved.

Meanwhile, has there been any more information about the two women in the truck that hit them? I must admit to more then the usual curiousity about them and howand why they came to be in Kansas and driving so badly!!!

countrygirl 7 years, 3 months ago

Hey guys--one of those workers left behind a pregnant wife and they both left behind families who are stunned and greiving. Can we keep this decent for a change? Or is that too much to ask---

Tom Miller 7 years, 3 months ago

log, shut up and go away...it is obvious the ONLY thing you are trying to do is inspire interesting debate, but "dude", you only sound ignorant. The perspective of maveric, while not overly articulate, was dead on the money, for, I'm sure, many of these respondents. HUSH. Go away. Come back and play after you've adjusted your meds, or whatever it is you do to get thru another day of your sorry existance. Just be quiet until you can produce something resembling a humanity-based point of view...now, like I tell my kids, when need be...be quiet and go to your room.

Claire Williams 7 years, 3 months ago

Log: As I have some errands to run, I cannot respond to all of your points, but here are a couple quick notes for you.

They are not repaving the entire stretch of US 59. According to the Ottawa Herald on August 29, 2007, highway crews are scheduled to begin repaving U.S. 59 between south Lawrence and the Douglas County line Sept. 5, and the work is expected to last through October.

If you travel 59 frequently as you say, you will notice that it is in much better condition in Franklin County.

I apologize for misreading your comment about not being aware of the 2 lane repaving. You are correct, you did not say you were not aware of the new 4 lane expansion.

Tom Miller 7 years, 3 months ago

log, the ultimately best response to your simple-minded, self-serving diatribe is...

Tom Miller 7 years, 3 months ago

...and..."someone like you"...simply another totally clueless remark, from the easily discredited and refutable..."sticks and stones"? gee, I need not further prove my point, when you resort to 4th-grade comebacks...you, sir/ma'am, are the living embodiment of a particular brand of well-presented ignorance found SO frequently in the world today...hmmm, makes me wonder...are you a politician? You seem to have the qualifications...

Chicago_JHawk 7 years, 3 months ago

log- I guess I'm confused as to where you'd rather this money get spent? It's earmarked for transportation projects, so it's not going to be spent in any other capacity. Do you have another roadway improvement you'd rather see instead of this one right now?

In addition, projects like this (on US or State highways) are funded with 10% state dollars and 90% federal dollars, so you're sharing this "burden" with more than just the citizens of KS.

bingo 7 years, 3 months ago

To the families that lost loved ones yesterday our sympathy goes out to you! I knew Ty personally and it is a shame that such an accident should ever occur. It is also a disgrace to see such an idiot as (log)--also referred to something leaving the rectum--should put blame where there is no fault. When is this country going to wake up and take the punishment for their own acts instead of pointing the finger to someone else. Yes, tax dollars are being spent and will continue to be spent on projects. It sounds to me that the only thing log is concerned with is his money. I sure hope your money buys your loved ones an eternity on this earth. Money doesn't buy happiness and love. Whine about those issues eslewhere and let these two MEN and their families rest in peace.

auntie_em98 7 years, 3 months ago

log why dont you just go buy a horse and buggy and move somewhere else. This was very tragic accident that didn't need to happen. I am the wife of one of the workers who had to watch his friends get run over and killed. Cousin I am so very sorry for your loss, I have met your cousin and he was a decent loving man, I am so upset about the whole thing. Give his wife a huge hug from the A/C people, she should know by that. Tell her to let us know if she needs anything.

dinolove101 7 years, 3 months ago

log take your worries about KDOT somewhere else. this article is about the poor lives that were taken by a careless driver. And do you really have nothing else to do with your day than complain on the lawrence journal worlds website and complain about every single thing that happens in the lawrence community. this has nothing to do with the people that were doing their job, they did everything they are supposed to, one of the guys actually pushed someone else out of the way to safe theirs and risk his own. that is probably more than you would do for anyone because apparently all you can do is think about yourself and your needs. what those people do is to make sure our transportation is safe, if you dont like the way lawrence opperates move somewhere else where someone who maybe cares will listen to you.

my thought and prayers are with the families and friends. and thanks to all the KDOT workers that do their jobs.

dirkleisure 7 years, 3 months ago

log, I'm upset.

I'm the only person you haven't singled out for a reply.

Watch those black helicopters, bub. By the way, we all think it is something else that you've paid a "considerable" amount of taxes in your life off the income you've made on a road crew.

Go buy a calculator.

dirkleisure 7 years, 3 months ago

calculatoric - do something about it: http://www.ksdot.org/burpersonnel/employment.asp

Lots of jobs available at KDOT. You seem to have an intimate knowledge of which transportation projects are and are not needed. You should apply.

dinolove101 7 years, 3 months ago

seee your backkkk go take a jog or do something with your life.

my sympathies to cousin and anyone else has lost someone in this accident.

dinolove101 7 years, 3 months ago

and last time i checked ottawa was a town that got flooded isnt this highway going to help them?

Chicago_JHawk 7 years, 3 months ago

log- My point is that the money spent on this job is budgeted for road improvements. Katrina damage, flood damage, tornado damage assistance comes from a different pot of money. Health care money is from a different pot, too. Whether it would be better to have money going to different recipients is a moot argument.

Federal Transportation funds are set each year. The state has to come up with the 10% matching funds and spend it somewhere or they do not get the 90% federal funding. If they don't use the funds then they lose them - they cannot be carried over from one year to the next. Also, failure to use funding causes the amount earmarked for the next fiscal year to be reduced, because the Federal Govt assumes the state clearly doesn't need as much, so it goes elsewhere. Eventually, those funds will be necessary (when it comes to to widen the road in 3 years, so it behooves the state to spend that money each year to keep qualifying for the funds.

dolphins4321 7 years, 3 months ago

This is crazy! So if there wasn't road construction, then she would have just caused a tragedy some other way! If she was driving that crazy then she could of hit someone head on, anything could of happened. I believe that with the way she was driving, something tragic would of happened no matter what. It has nothing to do with the road construction! I have to drive 59 highway all the time to pick my step-son up from his mothers house in Baldwin. Usually with my 2 small children in the back seat! I hate that highway! If something were to happen, there is nowhere to pull over. I can't wait for the 4 lane highway to be done!

bingo 7 years, 3 months ago

Log--You obviously are an idiot. If you don't like this country go live somewhere else and quit your finger pointing. You obviously don't have a job to be on this site all day. Our tax money probably is supporting your welfare check! Maybe it is your fault because if our welfare money wouldn't go to support you then our road would have been made out of diamonds and wouldn't have ever needed to be reconstructed.

dinolove101 7 years, 3 months ago

i think it is inapproiate what everyone is saying....stop arguing log likes attention so if we all just go on with our lives and not worry about what goes on in its mind we might have better days

kansasknowledge 7 years, 3 months ago

You are right, LOG, we should fund roads in only Southwest and Southeast Kansas especially since those road are used less. The most widely used and most dangerous roads should not be funded. That's perfect rationale you speak of. I suppose children who cannot read so well should be stripped of needed educational programs, too. Chicago put you up against the wall and that's all you can come up with. The money is earmarked for projects on a priority list. Dangerous being one of those priorities. Go back into your CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything).

dinolove101 7 years, 3 months ago

Is your hatred for KDOT due to the fact they did something horrible to you? Maybe they fired you and thats where your source of income was coming from and now you are blaming KDOT for taking all the tax payers money which in reality was your paycheck? Just a guess...

urrealbrite 7 years, 3 months ago

My family was involved in this incident and from the reports of friends and family that were working road construction at 9:44am there was a report that a women driving a truck was speeding through the 3 mile construcion site, not abiding the signs to stop and or slow down. She almost hit my friend that was working construction, she proceeded up the road over the hill, a flagger radioed ahead but it was too late. It was reported by several witnesses that she roared her engine, hit and killed 2 workers, put the truck in reverse and continued down the road. She even hit a third person that was able to get out of her way, but the truck did hit his leg causing him to loose his boot. The lady's truck has a broken wind shield due to workers throwing their signs at her window when trying to dodge from getting hit themselves. The lady drove for 10 to 15 minutes before highway patrol could use spikes to get her to stop the vehicle.

Please do not minimize a person's job by stating that they stand around. Yes you can compare your job to someone elses and say that you work harder than others, and it might be true, but they do have a tough job and that is all that I am stating. I support my family that lost there friends to a horific accident. It hurts to see that you can sit here and ramble crap to stroke your ego, to make yourselves sound smart, and to get the last word. If you need to stroke something....................buy a cat to scratch..................

hd_fatboy 7 years, 3 months ago

Being that I live in Franklin Co. and pay much higher taxes than Douglas Co. I would like to say to log,you state that you drive 59 only once a week or so? Try driving that rode twice daily and tell me that you see it as a waste of tax payers money.It is and has been a very dangerous rode to travel. Say a prayer when you pull out of your driveway that you make it safely to your destination. It's called progress dear. I was very happy to hear that they were finally going to do something with it. As for a need for more patrol? You have no clue my friend. They patrol that rode like flies on stink. They have some one pulled over daily. The last time I looked the car with the flashing lights said STATE TROOPER very plainly on the side of it. As for Ottawa being flooded. That was 68 highway that received the damage to the road. Just letting you know how it looks from this end of 59 highway. To both of the family's that lost their loved ones, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

kansasknowledge 7 years, 3 months ago

I suppose law enforecement would have stopped the Minneapolis bridge from falling. You're real bright, LOG. HWY 59 is one of the most dangerous roads in the State because it is a narrow two-lane passage, not because of inadequate law enforcement.

Paving HWY 59 is a phase of the four-lane project, all of which is earmarked for this project that was deemed a high priority. No special interest.

Jude30 7 years, 3 months ago

I've got a lot to say to you Log, but will keep the first part short and sweet.

  1. You do realize that the "taxes" that you keep talking about are gas taxes. Meaning that the money spent by KDOT does not come from the general fund. So your income taxes, property, or sales tax don't go to cover KDOT's expenses. If you don't like how this money is spent you can either drive a more fuel efficient car, or move to a state that would spend your tax dollars the way you like, like say MO, and we all know how good their roads are.

  2. How do you know this road didn't need to be repaved? Have you seen the design life of the asphalt used to pave that road? Do you even know the design life of that road? Have you seen the inspections for that road that would tell you its state? Or are you just blowing smoke out of your ass based on what you notice driving over it at 55+mph? Since you claim to drive this road frequently you've probably noticed it's distinct lack of shoulders. This is bad, and I imagine one of the big reasons for any work to be done on this stretch of road.

  3. You do realize that Kansas has some of the best roads in the country don't you? This is because of many reason. Not the least of which is the amount of money spent on them. Which you would probably be amazed to know is actually relitivily (sp) small. KDOT does have a very small budget compared to other states, and it's employees are some of the worst paid in the industry. When I quit as an Engineer Technician two years ago (same thing as one of the dead) I was making $12.52/hour. They've received a few raises since then, but they still make nowhere near what other states make and deffinately nowhere near what most private individuals with the same training and responsibilities makes. And it's people like you who keep their salaries small and make people like me who take the skill base and knowledge KDOT gave me then go make more money in the private sector. People like you won't be happy until we move to an inspection process like MO's, and again you see how good their roads are. Oh and those roads are especially good when you consider that Kansas is in the worst freeze thaw zones in the country. Meaning we have some of the worst conditions possible for building and maintaining roads. Yet your tax dollars are "wasted" doing this.

Jude30 7 years, 3 months ago

  1. You suggest that all truck traffic should stick to the Interstate system to transport goods. Then you mention places like western Kansas. You do realize that the Interstate system doesn't pass anywhere near some towns out west don't you? You also realize that by your logic that for a truck to travel from Ottawa Walmart distribution center to the Lawrence Walmart it would have to travel somewhere around 80 miles to keep to the Interstate Highways? Let's see which is a bigger waste of resources, 80 miles of diesel fuel vs. the expense of resurfacing a road to give it five more years of life.

  2. You initially stated that the accident that happened near the Zarco station was caused by KDOT's poor design. As has been pointed out many times so far this is not the case. It was a case of a woman too stupid to read a stop sign, and pulling out in front of a truck loaded with stone. It had nothing to do with someone entering traffic at a 45 deg angle. So it would be nice to see you admit you were wrong all along about this simple fact.

  3. You also keep saying that KDOT is only concerned about the construction, and trucking industry. Do you have any actual proof of this? Have you even stopped to consider the fact that continued construction just might be good for the economy? I have a pretty good idea what people in my industry make, and most of them have little over a high school education. Do you know how difficult it would be for them (or me) to make the money they do, or to even find decent employment if it weren't for the construction industry?

  4. You claim the road is safe enough as is. Where is your proof of this? All research data available would seem to indicate otherwise, since it is one of the more dangerous stretches of highway in the state. The traffic on 59 has gone up dramatically since it was built. It currently has a difficult time handling the amount of traffic that it does and the situation will only get worse. Yet you say this is money wasted, and unnecessary. What is human life worth to you? You seem to think making this road safer is too expensive so you have obviously placed a value on the lives of people who drive it regularly.

I worked for KDOT for nearly three years and loved almost every minute of it. I would still work for them if I could afford the price of gas to drive almost 50 miles one way to work and still raise a family. Unfortunately I couldn't and I now work in the private sector. I learned a lot working for KDOT not the least of which I didn't know crap about how are roads were, and are built. The general public has no idea what those workers go through, or what they do. All they see is someone working off of "their money".

Guess I got on a roll and failed to keep it short and sweet.

Hoots 7 years, 3 months ago

Almost everyone here let the first comment by log hijack the whole discussion. Hasn't anyone one learned you don't give jerks the time of day. JEEZ...this is such a trajedy and almost everyone here got sucked into a bunch of garbage when this could have been so much more. Learn from this people and ignore garbage like this. I bet you all fight with 2 year olds too.

olddude71 7 years, 3 months ago

Hoots....I could not agree more, log is an instigator. I do have something to say, this being it: olddude71 (Anonymous) says:

log:..I have worked for KDOT for almost 30 years (January). The first 15 years I worked on the road 5 days a week. Back it the early eighties we surveyed I-35 in Kansas City from Lamar Ave to the state line. We worked in a 6 foot wide median in the middle of 4 lanes of traffic with cars going by at 70 mph all day long. According to your dumb way of thinking, if one of use would of been hit by a car it would of been KDOT's fault because we were out there surveying the road to make it 3 lanes each way. You have no idea of what you say. In my opinion you sir, are an idiot.

And I did used to fight with my kids (wrestle) when they were 2. Unfortionately that was a long time ago.

GretchenJP 7 years, 3 months ago

OH MY HELL! Log! You've made your points! NUMEROUS times!! Now... shhhh...

Tom Miller 7 years, 3 months ago

Jude30, INCREDIBLY well put, sir, and hoots, you are SO right. Thank you both!!

squirrelygirl87 7 years, 3 months ago

AMEN, GretchenJP! But, just let me say one thing. Log...keep your mouth shut about things you know absolutely nothing about. You've never worked for KDOT, so you don't know anything about how KDOT works and how they rate roads, bridges, etc., for reconstruction or rehabilitation. I won't say that I know everything because I don't, but I know enough to know that YOU, Log, don't know jack about the process. Enough said.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the workers that were killed. May they rest in peace.

squirrelygirl87 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh, and Jude...thank you for your insight. Couldn't have said it better myself, being a former Engineering Technician also.

olddude71 7 years, 3 months ago

I was an Engineering Technicion I, II, III, IV, and V before I became a Land Surveyor I. I was the next to the las ET 1 hired in BOD in KDOT. That is why I have a firm opinion against LOG.

melsa 7 years, 3 months ago

First and foremost I would like to extend my condolences to the families of Tyron Korte, and Rolland Griffith. I am very upset to read some of the things that have been posted here. There is not one(with the exception of cousin, and urrealbrite) of you on here that know what happened out there. My husband was on the contractors road crew and witnessed the entire thing. The only thing that some of you people are doing, and you know who you are, is further hurting the families of the men who lost their lives this incident and causing more grief to those who witnessed it. When your husband works such a job and is constently away from home, the other guys out there with him become like family and theytend to be a close knit group. It would be appreciated by all of us who are dealing with this and the things that happened if you woud just shut up about it.

angels_n_waiting 7 years, 3 months ago

I am going to start by sending my condolences to the families of Tyron Korte and Rolland Griffith.

I am very grateful today because my brother is lucky to be here . What happened, happened to the road crew he works on. They have familys they want to go home to every night just like you do. These guys are not there to get in your way they are there to do a job they were paid to do. You do not want someone to come to your work and start killing off people you know or possibly yourself, just because they have to wait for service. Then you need to pay them the same respect. Now with that on your mind do your part and have some respect for thoses who work on the raods you drive .. reading this I hope each and everyone of you remember that Road Crews are people too. Thank you

Alwaysajayhawk24 7 years, 3 months ago

My family has been friends of the Korte family for life. Tyrone's parents and my parents grew up together. I grew up with Tyrone. His family and friends are devistated, as I'm sure are the family and friends of Ron Griffith. You would think a community of highly educated people could have enough decency to wait until the victims are at least laid to rest before you start bickering about ridiculous things like wasted tax dollars and land usage. There's a time for that later. For now, show some respect!

melsa 7 years, 3 months ago

My husband told me that Ty was really excited about to Chicago this Sunday to watch the Chiefs play. And we both saw Ronnie Saturday at the State Fair. He was always so happy.

babygirl7576 7 years, 3 months ago

I am the future wife of one of the construction workers who witnessed this tradgedy. I first and formost want to tell the familys how sorry we are for the pain they are going through,and their loss. They are all in our prayers and thoughts. You know they leave for work every monday and always in the back of your head when you kiss them goodbye, is god please be safe and come home soon. One of the people who got hurt i consider a very close friend of mine and am thankful she is ok. When i heard about the accident my heart sank, so many of those guys and girls out there are good friends and we know their wifes,husbands and kids and to think that someone that close to you would ever have to face something like that is heart wrenching. Automatically we pray that it wasnt our husband or our friend,but to even know that someone on their crew was hurt or killed is an unimaginable feeling. We never know whats gonna happen " on the road". People need to remember those are our husbands, brothers, sons, cousins and friends and all of them have familys they come home to every week. It's hard for them to leave their familys to make our highways safer. For some it will be harder now. Some of these guys came close to being hit, lost very good friends, and witnessed a horrible accident thet they will never forget. I think that logic is a jerk for even saying some of the things he or she has said. It has hurt alot of people and intetionaly doing that is wrong. There is a time and place for all things and he or she was completly out of line. These crews who go out become very close to one another during the season, the "crew" becomes your family when your away from your own. Logic needs to remembr that!! Stop bumpin your gums about things you know nothing about. No one wants to hear it anymore. Again to the familys who are dealing with this our prayers and thoughts are with you.

Brenda Zarska 7 years, 3 months ago

I am the girlfriend of one of the workers who was hit but survived. When the woman in the Chevy killed the 2 workers, this was her 2nd high-speed pass-thru. The 1st time, workers tried to get her to slow down but she had passed the pilot car & sped thru in the 'live' lane. The 2nd pass-thru, she hit the female flagger & broke the sign, then jumped from the 'live' lane, across the paving lane into the 'service' lane where equipment was stored. As she barreled down this lane, my boyfriend frantically waved his arms. The front tire caught his left ankle & spun him into the ditch. The pickup continued to pick up speed then veered toward a group of workers near the end of the lane. She plowed right thru them, killing 2.

We know our men are doing a dangerous job. Every Monday morning at 5am when they leave for the week, we hope & pray they come back on the weekend alive. This week, 2 didn't. My question is why didn't the woman in the Chevy slow down the 1st time? Why didn't she slow down the 2nd time thru? Why didn't she stop after she killed 2 men? Why did she veer TOWARD the group of men? Why did it take 2 spike strips to stop her?

My boyfriend left this morning for a job in Okla. since the Lawrence job is suspended. Will he come back to me alive? God, I hope so...

compmd 7 years, 3 months ago

"openminded (Anonymous) says:

comp-you can be detained and not be under arrest."

NO! You cannot be detained against your will by law enforcement without being charged with a crime. If you are being detained for questioning, you have the right to walk away; at no point are you in jail. Judges frown upon people imprisoned without charges, and criminal defense attorneys and civil attorneys salivate over cases where people have been improperly or unjustly imprisoned.

shockchalk 7 years, 3 months ago

babygirl.......I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you and me others are going through. It's a shame you have to read the insensitive posts from logrithmic and a few others. Those men have a difficult job and they do it well but the ones remaining will be carrying a lot of sorrow and grief for quite a while. It is a shame that the two women responsible for this show no remorse and aren't even capable of admitting their role in ending these mens lives. It's sad that there are a few very misguided posters out there who want to portray the passenger in the truck as a victim and the whole tragedy as an accident. Neither of those statements bear any truth at all and they offer no comfort to you or any of the other victims in this tragedy.

ksu2005 7 years, 3 months ago

Seeing how everyone else has put in their 2 cents, I am going to put mine in as well. My dad works for KDOT and he has for about 25 years now, and I can honestly say that it is one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Some of the stories he has told me scare me to death, and whenever I hear of these stories, my heart sinks. These accidents that happen are almost always caused because someone who "wasn't paying attention" or "didn't see them" and by that time it is too late. By common courtesy, respect, and oh maybe THE LAW, slow down and move over when there is construction and/or an emergency vehicle ahead. That SHOULD be common sense, but obviously not everyone has that.
In regards to this particular accident, these women deserve every bit that is coming to them and hopefully a lot more. They knew exactly what they did and for someone to have the nerve to drive off and leave the scene....I just don't understand what people are thinking these days. I mean honestly, did they think they were going to get away? All of the other construction workers witnessed the accident, plus all of the other cars that saw the accident happen, were easily able to identify the truck. To the person who posted the comment about the spike strip missing her forehead...Hats off to you!
This is a horrible tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these young men. As many people already posted...Yes these men form relationships with each other at work, and they become family. It is hard to see something like this happen and then wonder..Why wasn't I the one that got hit? Lastly, I would just like to say, please please please pull over and slow down for construction, emergency vehicles, and road crews.

babygirl7576 7 years, 3 months ago

shockchalk..... Time heals wounds the only bad thing is we will never forget, our familys and our friends will remeber this for the rest of our lives. The guys and gals on this crew are all dealing with it in thier own way. I just hope all of them have familys and friends to talk to, I for one hold each one of them dear to my heart they work as a team and support one another. I feel lucky to call some of them my friends. thanks for your support through this difficult time.

angels_n_waiting 7 years, 3 months ago

If you really want to do something great about this tragedy then respond to this.

A memorial has been established with the El Dorado Animal Clinic and the Griffith family assistance fund with any Bank of America. Contributions may be left with the Kirby-Morris Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to www.kirbymorrisfuneralhome.com.

gangsta_baby_gurl 7 years, 1 month ago

what the f is wrong with you people. i wouldnt laugh if some one you knew died but now i think i will. my dad works for kdot and has for 28 years now. he personaly knew the person who died and it was hard to see one of your own workers get killed. if people would just wait and not be so fed up on drugs then mabye we wouldnt have to worry about people getting killed. so you got s**t to say then come say it to me

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