The driver of a motorcycle involved in a Sunday night's car and motorcycle wreck in the eastbound lanes of the Kansas Turnpike near the west Lawrence exit has died, his wife said Monday afternoon.
Theresa Trafton said her husband, James, died about 2 p.m. Monday at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.
According to a Kansas Turnpike Authority report, just before 8 p.m. Barry L. Williams, 62, of Kansas City, Mo., became distracted by his dog inside his 2002 Nissan car as Williams was accelerating on the turnpike’s entry ramp into the eastbound lanes.
Williams’ car veered out of the acceleration lane to the right and hit some sand, where he lost control and struck the median wall. Immediately after the Nissan struck the wall, an eastbound 2008 Harley Davidson motorcycle struck the car, according to the report.
James Trafton, 58, of Kansas City, Kan., was driving the motorcycle, and was flown to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., via helicopter ambulance, a KTA dispatcher said.
Trafton was a leader of the Kansas Army National Guard and in 2006 led a battalion to Iraq.
Trafton was a full-time Guardsman and a career soldier. He was a Vietnam veteran, where he served with the Army's 1st Cavalry Division. He's earned several service medals as well as Bronze Stars from Vietnam and Iraq. He leaves behind his wife and four daughters.
Williams and a passenger, Sharla K. Williams, 59, were taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where they were treated and released, said Belinda Rehmer, an LMH spokeswoman.