Archive for Monday, October 5, 2009

Wreck shuts down U.S. 59 for nearly three hours Monday afternoon

Driver failed to stop at stop sign, taken by air ambulance to trauma center

A Lawrence woman is out of the hospital after running her car into a semi truck on U.S. Highway 59.

October 5, 2009, 11:40 a.m. Updated October 5, 2009, 6:49 p.m.


This sedan collided with a tanker truck carrying liquid nitrogen at the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and County Road 460. U.S. 59 was closed for several hours Monday as crews cleaned up the accident site.

This sedan collided with a tanker truck carrying liquid nitrogen at the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and County Road 460. U.S. 59 was closed for several hours Monday as crews cleaned up the accident site.

Lifestar transports driver after car, semi collide

A Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper working the accident said the driver of a sedan failed to stop at the stop sign on 460, which is also N. 650 Road, and was hit on the driver's side door by a semi truck. Enlarge video

A Lawrence driver was taken by air ambulance to the hospital Monday after running a stop sign and crashing into a tanker truck, a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper said.

The accident occurred shortly after 11:15 a.m. south of Lawrence, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and Douglas County Road 460.

Janice Loux, 51, was taken to a regional trauma center by a LifeStar helicopter ambulance. Loux said she was released a few hours later with a broken shoulder blade.

“My whole left side feels like people with baseball bats beat it,” she said.

Loux was driving a gold four-door Chevrolet west on County Road 460, which is also North 650 Road, when she failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with the truck, which was traveling north on U.S. 59, Trooper Josh Kellerman said at the scene.

Loux said she actually thought that she was farther east than she actually was. She said the former Zarco convenience store had always served as a landmark for her — but it’s been razed.

David Vansickle, the 36-year-old St. Marys man who was driving the truck, received minor injuries in the crash, troopers said.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts, a KHP report said.

Traffic on U.S. 59 was shut down for nearly three hours and motorists were diverted onto county roads while crews cleaned up the accident scene.

The truck was carrying liquid nitrogen, which isn’t hazardous but had to be drained before the truck could be moved.

Crews from Willow Springs Township Fire Department, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office assisted the highway patrol at the scene.

Kellerman said the accident was the second in three days at the intersection caused by a driver failing to stop at a stop sign.


yankeelady 8 years ago

give it a rest folks. LMH is not a trauma center. Most community hospitals aren't.

Tammy Graham 8 years ago

Roger, Why the rudeness towards a horrible accident? Hope you or one of you loved ones never needs Life Flight. Bless you

appleaday 8 years ago

Roger, why don't you do a little research into the costs of running a trauma center as well as the legal requirements for having one? Then go sign up all the physician specialists you need to cover it 24/7 and then justify this cost to your local hospital endowment association and board of trustees. I'm sure they'll let you do it. Good luck finding the specialists who want to treat 4 or 5 patients a month max. Go for it since you seem to know all about it.

countrygirl 8 years ago

For some reason my brain isn't placing where this intersection is. South, right? Thinking good thoughts for all involved.

ralphralph 8 years ago

I just got a call from someone saying the wreck appeared to be just NORTH of 650 (the old Zarco) corner. They had tried to get around the wreck by using 650 from the East, but were sent on across US 59, and saw a topped-off car to the north of 650 and US59. Is this the same wreck, I assume? ... or is there another one 2 miles further south?

Pat Long 8 years ago

Roger, don't know who put the burr under your saddle, but give it a rest. People have been hurt, and you get your jollies being an a**.

ralphralph 8 years ago

btw - my caller said the traffic on the county roads is horrible, as everybody is trying to figure out where they are going, and you should avoid the area of US59 between Lawrence and US56, as well as the side roads in that area, until this clears.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years ago


County Road 460 is N.650 Road at US 59.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

ralphralph 8 years ago

460 is 650? That's kind of confusing to us simple types ... When this is all over, I've got to look up the history of road numbering in DG CO. In the meantime, stay the heck away from the old Zarco.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

"gold, four-door seadan"

ahh yes, the Seadan, an American icon. now which company was it that made the Seadan?

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

I'd like to see a follow up paragraph to this story that might include a timetable for completion of that death trap we call US 59.

Jonathan Kealing 8 years ago


Douglas County has a series of three-digit (4XX) highways that run around the county (458, 442, 460, 472, etc.), and some four digit (10XX) highways that do as well. Those roads are separate from the block-by-block numbering system that gives us blocks and most road names. So, in block terms, the accident was at the intersection of N. 650 and E. 1250 roads, but in highway terms the accident was at the intersection of County Road 460 and U.S. 59.

Confusing? I agree.


Stuart Evans 8 years ago

now my 12:44 post doesn't make any sense. quit editing your stories!!

drake 8 years ago

So Jonathan, we know that the North-South roads are labeled as to their distance from the Shawnee County line and the East-West roads are likewise from the Franklin County line. Where did Douglas County come up with the other numbers such as 460, 1029 and such?

grimpeur 8 years ago

460, 458, 1055, etc., refer to Douglas County routes that use different numbered roads to reach their destinations. Kind of like US "Route" 59 follows Iowa, then 6th, then N. 2nd out of Lawrence.

Douglas Co. "Route" 460 goes (I think) north from Worden on E. 900 "Road," then east on N. 500 Rd., then north on E. 1100 Rd., then east on N. 650 (crossing US59), and so on.

So, Douglas Co. Route 460 is on N. 650 Rd. where it crosses US59.

hujiko 8 years ago

I really hope both drivers are okay.

jehovah_bob 8 years ago

Has anyone seen Terminator 2?

All I'm saying is, it's a good thing 59 doesn't run straight into a smelting plant.

KEITHMILES05 8 years ago

Roger: Lifestar is NOT your tax dollars being spent. Get a clue what you speak about before you speak.

avoice 8 years ago

What's really important about this and no one has commented on: This is a very dangerous intersection. Many, many people miss this stop sign and zoom right across US 59, often getting plowed by the oncoming highway traffic. As more people are using this route because of construction farther south, this intersection really needs much better signage. Something along the lines of what they had to do at Baldwin Junction when so many wrecks were happening there.

1234 8 years ago

I travel this road (intersetction) almost daily, since the removal of Zarco, etc and for that matter before the intersection is not lit up and has poor warnings for the approach. What really needs to happen is a blinking warning light installed coming from the east and west. I blew through it one night and it scared me so bad I start stopping WAY eairly now, but honestly blinking light would help this intersection out greatly sad to see 2 wrecks in the last 2 days there..... They put them at 59/458 and I have not heard of a wreck there in a long while......... just my 2 cents which is not worth much.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years ago

59 is a total death trap. Best wishes to those involved.

natas 8 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Tammy Graham 8 years ago


Bet you wouldn't think twice if the Life Flight was to save your own life. Shut up

costello 8 years ago

"This is a very dangerous intersection. Many, many people miss this stop sign and zoom right across US 59, often getting plowed by the oncoming highway traffic."

I agree it's a dangerous intersection during heavy traffic, but I don't see how you can miss the stop sign. There's nothing about that intersection to indicate you can just "zoom right across US 59."

ScottyMac 8 years ago

Wow. Someone is seriously injured in a car wreck, and the Fabulous Gilchrist Boys think it's a grand opportunity to make crass jokes, soapbox about local politics, and make all around asses of themselves. Nice.

Next time, try something like this: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families. We hope you find the strength and courage to make it through this diffcult time."

blindrabbit 8 years ago

1234: Do you want a blinking light at every Hiway crossing? This in view that you apparently routinely drive this route. Maybe too little attention to your surroundings, maybe a little more responsible, less texting, cell-phoneing, etc, whatever!!

That intersection is well marked going East or West approaching US59..

hujiko 8 years ago

roger, this is neither the time nor place. stop worrying about the cost and start wondering about things that can be done to lower the frequency of accidents. less accidents = less lifeflights.

blindrabbit 8 years ago

maybe KHD needs to add crossing gates with flashing lights like those at railroad crossings.

gsxr600 8 years ago

Boy that looks pretty clear to me.

This is little less obvious since it's back further I guessss but c'mon, there's still a stop sign there clearly. I'm not trying to tell anyone they're stupid, but I think a lot of people aren't very aware of their surroundings much anymore, especially with cell phones, texting, and a plethora of other distractions. If teenagers jacked a stop sign because it was "cool", then I could totally understand someone blowing through that intersection.

Alia Ahmed 8 years ago

Here's a blurb about how Life Flight Eagle funds its organization and I would assume other services have similar funding mechanisms.

Alia Ahmed 8 years ago

Per LifeFlight Eagle's website:

Is LifeFlight Eagle financially stable?

LifeFlight Eagle is a financially stable organization, with a track record of meeting its financial obligations and operating within budget. The organization has, since its inception, generated enough revenue each year to cover its annual operating expenses. The organization has not been subsidized by hospitals or by government, and other than the initial operating cash and loans it received from its member hospitals, it has not received any further subsidizes to meet its expenses. As a non profit organization, LifeFlight Eagle is diversifying income opportunities and exploring ways to provide better services to our customers and communities.

newsreader 8 years ago


Hospitals and Insurance Agencies include this cost in the medicaid cost reporting, which figures all reimbursement rates. No this rate is not only limited to Medicaid, it is simply a base number that is used to calculate costs.

As asked, please explain how its cost effective for Lawrence to update to a trama center? You asked who pays the write-off cost of the air transport (not sure which part of the cost is a write off... ?? The only write off is the difference between the reimbursement rate and billed rate, but thats ALWAYS a write-off... xray, transport, general visit). Who pays the specialists salaries while their not working billable case hours?

irussell 8 years ago

I use this intersection several times each week, and yes, it can be a bad intersection, but the signs are visible. There is alot of construction going on along these two roads in this particular location and it can be distracting.

Outwest 8 years ago


That's a great system you have going. Say anything you want without facts to back it up, and then ask everyone else to try to prove you wrong with facts, and if they can't, than your point is correct. Life must be great in your world.

costello 8 years ago

According to the trooper being interviewed on the video, the semi was already in the intersection when the car entered the road. The car failed to stop at the stop sign and struck the trailer in the side. It sounds like human error - possibly a distracted driver?

I'm sure many of us have been distracted while driving. I know I have. I doubt if blinking lights would help. Those rumble strips would probably be the best safety device. But I have to agree with blindrabbit; making it a rule to set aside the gadgets and focus on the road would be the best thing.

My sister was involved in an accident a few months ago in which she failed to yield because she was engrossed in a conversation on her cell phone. She now has a firm rule not to make or accept calls while she's driving.

My thoughts and prayers are with the driver and his or her family and loved ones.

cj123 8 years ago

i use this intersection everyday and the signs are visible during daylight but ever since zarco closed, it has been difficult to know exactly were the intersection is and i have been using it for years!

gsxr600 8 years ago

I guess my car IQ ability is lacking. Still looks like a Camry to me.

blindrabbit 8 years ago

Multi: Re your 2:46 posting about the intersection being "unremarkable" That describes about 90% of all of the highway crossings in rural Kansas.

Donald Loux 8 years ago

Thanks for the support. She is doing OK. She was released from the trauma center in Topeka. She only has one broken bone and is aching from head to foot.

BlackVelvet 8 years ago

"I'd like to see a follow up paragraph to this story that might include a timetable for completion of that death trap we call US 59."

You can have the "safest highway in the world" but if people don't stop at stop signs, or if they drive drunk (K-10 comes to mind) then it won't make any difference. People will still get hurt. 59 isn't the best of roadways, but don't lay all the blame on the highway.

natas 8 years ago

Guess my last post offended some people (Roger) ... life net and life star are not state supported ... none of your tax dollars are being spent there. Still if you don't know what you are talking ... keep your mouth shut. Again my support goes out to the families.

natas 8 years ago

I forgot Life flight eagle ..oops

GardenMomma 8 years ago

"Who pays for LifeFlight Eagle when the patient is flown?

The amount covered by the insurance company varies from policy to policy. The remaining balance after insurance payment(s) becomes the patient’s responsibility. The benefit of becoming a LifeFlight Eagle member is that the member’s out-of-pocket cost for the transport is eliminated."

I cite:

So you see Gilchrist, the patient is responsible for all costs after insurance (which I assume is why you pay a deductible...) pays a portion. If you are uninsured I guess you are stuck with the entire bill.

I presume that the costs include gas, pilot pay, supplies, etc.

Was it really hard for you to grasp this or do you just like confrontation?

In other thoughts - I hope all the people are going to be all right. It sounds like the driver of the car is okay. Good thoughts to her and the truck driver.

I wonder if that liquid nitro leaked and froze a few things or was it drained before any leaked out.

Jack Hope III 8 years ago

The last time at that intersection, I nearly did the exact same thing. I'm sure I was distracted, but under the circumstances, a flashing red light might be very handy. 460 does get a fair amount of traffic.

But perhaps the situation will fix itself when the new 4-lane 59 is finished. I bet a four-way-stop is planned for that intersection since there will probably be more traffic on 460 than on old 59 by then.

sm1uknow 8 years ago

Thanks for all the well wishes. I wasn't distracted; my phone was in my purse and I hadn't been drinking, just to lay that to rest. I thought I was an intersection earlier. I did my best to avoid it - slammed on the brakes and cranked my wheel to the right as best as I could. Thank God I was the only one hurt. They LifeFlighted me because they were unsure as to whether I had internal injuries. I got two degrees from Baker and came home this way for four years, but that was before Zarco went dark. Rumble strips would have prevented it. Again, thank you all for your wishes, and I'm okay but really, really sore.

Also, the car WAS a 2005 Chevy Malibu.

  • Jan, the cause of the story

GardenMomma 8 years ago

I'm very glad to hear you are all right. The car looks pretty bad. Feel better soon.

domino 8 years ago

I can't speak for LifeFlight specifically, but most air ambulance services bill the patient just like a ground ambulance. Had a friend who had to have her son transported by air ambulance from a small rural hospital to Wichita (175 miles by ground) and they were billed for everything that the crew did, loaded miles, the whole nine yards. It was huge bill and sadly, they still lost their son. Their insurance covered much of it but they still made payments for a long time to get it taken care of.

Not even going to comment on the "Gilchrist Boys" - mamma taught me "If you can't say something decent, don't say anything at all." Maybe they should try it.

Thoughts & prayers with both of the injured parties & their families.

Alia Ahmed 8 years ago


Glad you're doing okay. Thanks for the update.

nnelson 8 years ago

Here is some more information on air ambulances in Douglas County, for those interested.

Nick Nelson Web Producer

sm1uknow 8 years ago

OK, having just used LifeFlight/Star whatever, here's my 2 cents worth:

I am damned glad they took me to a Trauma Center. I had no obvious outward wounds, but no one knew if I had internal injuries. My entire left side felt like that truck ran over it. I was a licensed EMT, an Acting Battalion Surgeon and an Ambulance Platoon Leader. I wasn't really given a choice, though the choice I would have made was TAKE ME!

God bless them, every one!

jonas_opines 8 years ago

Hmmm, this article says that the truck of liquid nitrogen poses no hazard, but I've seen with my own eyes in Terminator 2 a tanker of liquid nitrogen freeze something(someone) solid to where they can be smashed into little pieces! Mr. Kealing, please address the discrepency!

jonas_opines 8 years ago

Yaaaaarrrrggghhhh!!! Curse you Jehovah Bob!!!

vansickk 8 years ago


I am glad to hear that you are doing ok and that your injuries were not more serious. My husband was the one in the truck and he feared the worst when he first saw your car. No matter if you ran the sign or not, the point is that everyone is ok. I agree that you should have been flown. By the looks of the car your injuries should have been much worse. Don't let their stupid comments get you down. You had just ran into a 40 ton truck. Someone was watching over all of you. God bless and feel better soon!!

Curtis Lange 8 years ago

To back up what gsxr600 said, that is NOT a Chevrolet. It IS, however, a Toyota Camry.

Curtis Lange 8 years ago

edit: Nevermind, I see the Malibu resemblance now. :|

n8n2010 8 years ago

That's a sweet way to make use of a sign post. Get your LEAN on Willy style!

imwithstupid 8 years ago

I was wondering about rumble strips leading up to the 59 intersection. I had to wade through all the arguing about life flighting until I got to Jan's update in which she mentioned that rumble strips would have prevented it. So now I'm curious about why they haven't been laid down. It seems a rather simple thing to do that would really help. It seems that every life lost there and all the accidents caused could have been drastically reduced with rumble strips. How about a petition or some phone calls/emails to someone or agency that could authorize such action.

Stuart Evans 8 years ago

yeah, stop sings are the red & white octagons on the side of the road. I'm pretty sure if you googled it, there will be a picture. These types of sings have been a fixture in America for a long long time now. It doesn't matter if you've been on a road one time or a thousand times, if you don't see the stop sign, it's on you.

GardenMomma 8 years ago

Nope, never seen a "stop sing." Now a stop SIGN I have seen, many a time.

hogwild 8 years ago

The State will probably want to put in another roundabout at that intersection. 59 highway has the right of way but it is continually the drivers on the east west roads that cause all of the wrecks on 59 highway. Im surprised that there have not been more wrecks on 59 from drivers that pull out right in front of cars instead of waiting until no cars are approaching.

Jerry Collins 8 years ago

Wouldn't it be an easy and relatively inexpensive to put a sign on each side about an 1/8th mile or so before the intersection that said stop ahead. Might save a life.

LA_Ex 8 years ago


I don't think EMS carries CATScans', MRI's or X-ray's on the truck so I would imagine it is pretty hard for them to determine if the victim has internal injuries. I'm sure they look at the impact, the vehicle, and the victims complaints before deciding on if LMH can handle patient or if they should lean towards the side of caution and send them to a trauma facility. Especially when it is someone's life that is possibly hanging on that decision. A decision you and I most likely will never have to make in our lifetime.

As for the cost that you refer to...maybe you should write to your Representative and Congressman and tell them to fight for health insurance reform, instead commenting on these threads.

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