Lawrence police Thursday afternoon identified a 23-year-old Lawrence man as the motorcyclist who died in a head-on crash Wednesday evening on Iowa Street.
Josh Skipton, who friends said worked at a Lawrence auto dealership, was pronounced dead at the accident scene Wednesday near Iowa Street and University Drive.
Police said Wednesday that officers believe Skipton, who was driving his 2005 Yamaha motorcycle north on Iowa Street, tried to stop in traffic and then went into the southbound lane where he was struck by a van in oncoming traffic.
“After the motorcycle crossed the center line it was struck by a 1996 Ford Econoline van that was traveling southbound on Iowa Street in the inside lane,” said Sgt. Matt Sarna, a police spokesman.
The crash occurred about 6:15 p.m., and it caused one of Lawrence’s busiest streets to be closed for several hours as police investigated the accident.
Sarna on Thursday identified the driver of the van as 55-year-old Mary Barnes of Kansas City, Kan. Barnes and her two passengers were not injured.
“Accident investigators with the Lawrence Police Department’s Traffic Unit are currently reconstructing the scene to determine the circumstances before the accident occurred,” Sarna said. “It is not believed at this time that alcohol was a contributing factor to the accident.”
Friends of Skipton said Thursday they were still dealing with the shock of losing their friend.
“He’s just a great guy. He’s a great friend,” said Lawrence resident Daniel Guebara, who grew up with Skipton in Deerfield, which is near Garden City. “He was always there for anything. He would go through hoops for anybody just so they would be happy.”
Guebara said Skipton was on his way home from work when the accident occurred. The two childhood friends graduated from Garden City Community College together. Skipton had attended Kansas State University and Kansas University, Guebara said, but he had taken time off to concentrate on his salesman job.
Riding his motorcycle had been Skipton’s passion for several years, his friend said.
“He loved to ride his bike all over the place,” Guebara said.
Police asked anyone with information about the accident to call the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7650 or Douglas County Crime Stoppers at 785-843-TIPS (8477).