Archive for Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kansas Highway Patrol says drug use, inattention contributing factors in fatal April 16 accident on K-10

May 3, 2011


Fatality accident on K-10 diverts traffic

A fatality accident left two dead and three seriously injured Saturday afternoon. The accident on K-10 near Eudora caused traffic to be rerouted through the town. Enlarge video

A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper said Tuesday that drug use and driver inattention would be listed as contributing factors as to why a 24-year-old Eudora man crossed a median in a deadly April 16 accident on Kansas Highway 10.

Troopers have said an eastbound car driven by Ryan Pittman crossed over into the westbound lanes and struck a minivan near the Church Street interchange. Cainan Shutt, a 5-year-old Eudora preschooler who was riding inside the van, also died, and his 23-month-old sister Courtlynn Shutt and their grandparents were injured.

“We’re not going to know a specific cause of why he went into the median. We have contributing circumstances of why the accident happened but no cause,” Trooper Casey Simoneau said Tuesday.

Coroner’s officials said two weeks ago a preliminary autopsy report indicated Pittman had marijuana, benzodiazepine, which is a depressant used in drugs to treat insomnia and anxiety, and methadone in his system.

But the full autopsy, including a detailed toxicology report, is not yet complete, and Simoneau said if new information comes out of the final autopsy report it could change details in his accident report.

Simoneau also said the accident report would note Pittman’s license was suspended. According to state records, Pittman’s license was suspended Jan. 25 for failing to maintain continuous liability insurance or file evidence of insurance.

Simoneau said Tuesday that troopers had been operating LIDAR check lanes, which incorporates a laser to check for speeding vehicles. That was also happening on Monday and Tuesday. Technical Trooper Don Hughes said the highway patrol has used the tactic periodically on K-10.

“It’s a priority road for us. It has a high volume of traffic. The guys are consistent with working it,” Hughes said.

The aftermath of the April 16 crash has spurred a call — including from Cainan Shutt’s parents and about 4,000 people on Facebook — for the Kansas Department of Transportation to re-examine whether it should install a cable barrier in the median along K-10 from Lawrence to Interstate 435 in Johnson County to stop cross-median crashes. After a 2008 study, KDOT officials said K-10 did not qualify for a cable barrier.

But Gov. Sam Brownback last month directed KDOT officials to reopen the study and work with local officials after receiving a letter from Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson. KDOT officials are scheduled to meet with city officials, including those from Lawrence and Eudora, on May 12.


Ron Holzwarth 7 years, 1 month ago

I have an opinion:

The state of Kansas is entirely to lenient with drivers who are caught driving with a suspended license. Usually, but maybe not always, your driver's license is suspended for a good reason, and that's to keep dangerous drivers off the road.

I know of one person that was caught driving while suspended for (I think) the third time when he was finally taken off the road by the reality check of driving off the left side of the highway. Fortunately, no one was coming the other way at the time.

And this really bothers me: The first two times you are caught driving with a suspended license are only misdemeanors!

Ron Holzwarth 7 years, 1 month ago

In other words, you were summoned to court and you didn't go.

hitman33 7 years, 1 month ago

In other words, he had a suspended license, but is not a dangerous driver.

xclusive85 7 years, 1 month ago

What did he get the ticket for? Maybe he is a dangerous driver. How do you know?

xclusive85 7 years, 1 month ago

I kinda said that in jest. I know that sarcasm doesn't come over well.

sallyone 7 years, 1 month ago

Well, I guess pot does kill, but then all of us who are smarter than 2nd graders already know that of course!

kantubek 7 years, 1 month ago

And prescription medications don't? The combination of drugs in Mr. Pittman's system was a contributing factor, but so was the amount of sleep the night before, and many other seemingly arbitrary conditions. No one single variable caused the accident, don't try pinning it on marijuana because you disagree with its usage. Have some compassion for the families involved.

gorilla10 7 years, 1 month ago

It's always sad to hear that illegal drugs(such as marijuana) were a contribution to an accident. It doesn't matter if it was the single factor or multiple factors. These drugs are illegal for a reason.....

GardenMomma 7 years, 1 month ago

Just as it is always sad to hear that alcohol (a legal drug) was a contribution to an accident.

I'm very saddened by this whole affair and my heart goes out to the affected family and friends. My thoughts and prayers have been with you. May you find peace and begin to heal soon.

GardenMomma 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually, my point was that the legality of the drug isn't the contributing factor but rather the poor choice on the part of the driver to get behind the wheel.

kantubek 7 years, 1 month ago

Don't worry, none2 has a habit of misconstruing just about everything.

kantubek 7 years, 1 month ago

Okay, so I think marijuana should be legal, yet I still haven't endorsed driving while intoxicated on any type of drug.

Swing and a miss.

kantubek 7 years, 1 month ago

Where in my post did I endorse the smoking of marijuana? Where did I say that marijuana doesn't impair driving? Nowhere.

What I was trying to illustrate that no exact cause can or ever will be determined. I'm not blaming any one factor, you are. If you want to take that down a slippery slope be my guest, but that is not what I meant. Do not put words in my mouth.

I do have compassion for the families, I was a good friends with someone who died in somewhat similar circumstances. I know the feeling of having someone close to me lose their life in a head-on collision. It is tragic, and I can only imagine how it would feel to be a parent of one of the victims.

kantubek 7 years, 1 month ago

You're still be disingenuous with my post, I have yet to see where I said that marijuana isn't impairing and safe for consumption on the road. I'm not advocating the usage of legal or illegal drugs while driving so unless you have something different to say, goodbye.

nut_case 7 years, 1 month ago

Not to play devils advocate, but it's important to remember, the levels of all these drugs has not been mentioned, simply 'in his system'. With modern technology, drugs can be detected in exceedingly small quantities. A person can test 'positive' for marijuana for 90 days or more after smoking - which is probably about 89.5 days after any effects have worn off. Detection levels are probably similar for the other drugs mentioned. It would not be uncommon to detect them at 1/1000th the level any 'effect' would even be felt.

LadyJ 7 years, 1 month ago

Was it ever said who the car he was driving belonged to?

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 1 month ago

More than likely the offended family can no take civil action against the driver and insurance company and rightfully so.

akt2 7 years, 1 month ago

If he had a suspended license for no insurance how will civil action against an insurance company happen? The driver is dead, how will the ofended family take civil action against him?

LadyJ 7 years, 1 month ago

That is why I wondered who owned the car. If he was driving somebody else's car, they may have had insurance.

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