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Archive for Friday, August 24, 2012

Motorcyclist and driver in North Lawrence fatality identified

August 24, 2012, 11:07 a.m. Updated August 24, 2012, 2:22 p.m.

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Lawrence police on Friday morning identified 43-year-old Steven C. Miller of Linwood as the motorcyclist who died in an accident Thursday morning in North Lawrence.

Sgt. Trent McKinley said Miller died after a car turned left in front of his southbound motorcycle around 8:50 a.m. Thursday in the 1000 block of North Third Street.

McKinley said Thursday that according to preliminary information it appeared the driver of the northbound car, Delores A. Statler, 79, of Lawrence, failed to yield to Miller when she had a flashing yellow light. Statler was turning into the I-70 Business Center.

Miller, who was wearing a helmet, eventually died from his injuries in the crash.

Police identified both drivers Friday morning after they spent Thursday notifying Miller’s family members.

No citations have been issued, and police are expected to eventually send a report to Douglas County prosecutors for review.

“It will take some time for the investigation to be fully completed,” McKinley said.

Police on Thursday had incorrectly reported the ages of Miller and Statler as 44 and 80, respectively.

Comments

Idiosyncratic 1 year, 7 months ago

Drivers should always remember: a flashing yellow arrow means turn with caution because oncoming traffic has a green light.

There is confusion about how the flashing yellow left-turn arrow signal works. Many drivers make the assumption that traffic going the other way has a red light. These drivers assume a yellow flashing light operates the same as a regular solid yellow light: yellow on one side = red on the other side.

It would be interesting to know whether crashes have increased at this intersection since the flashing yellow turn signal was installed!

Another post from a California resident regarding a similar event stated, “I tried to follow the correct rule of the flashing yellow turn signal, and was honked at by the car behind me who assumed I should have proceeded through the light, instead of slowing down and stopping.”

Was there any public education regarding these new lights? Newspaper articles, mailings, etc. Also, when were they installed?

New incoming KU students who are not familiar with our streets generally scare me more than a lady who has driven in this town her whole life, has good vision, and has all her faculties intact. Yes, I am familiar with Delores. I am positive that her age is not a factor! She is as sharp as a tack!

Delores may have not known how the flashing yellow left-turn arrow signal works. I am sure a 79 year old woman may not be rushing home to Goggle "new yellow flashing traffic lights" when she sees one for the first time. I am also certain that she is not ecstatic that this young man is now deceased! Can you possibly imagine what she must be feeling right now? We have all “almost” been there at some point. Please have some empathy as she must be suffering.

May comfort and compassion be with Steven’s grieving family members, friends, and Delores.

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MacHeath 1 year, 7 months ago

Exactly, Newtongirl! Its easy to make a mistake like that, for anyone. Fortunately those mistakes don't always cause an accident, or for God's sake, a death. Everything is not black or white folks. Assuming that the lady was somehow impaired by age, is unfounded, and unfair. It is clear that she made a mistake that many of us could have made.

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newtongirl 1 year, 7 months ago

Flashing yellow arrows are subconsciously confusing. Most of us know it means we can turn but only after yielding to oncoming traffic. The problem is that the arrows we used to have were always green and always meant we were supposed to just keep going because oncoming traffic had a red light. Arrows meant "go". Now we see an arrow and subconsciously we're used to it telling us to keep going, but now it's flashing yellow at the intersections that used to just have a solid green light...and solid yellow means you can still go but it's about to turn red. So traditionally, both the color yellow and the arrow used to be symbols that told us to hurry up. Most of us do ok with it, but almost every time I'm on 31st and Iowa near Target I see someone either stop completely on the yellow arrow and not go at all (when there's no oncoming traffic) or turn left in front of someone. It's going to take a while for people to get used to it, especially those of us who learned to drive 20+ years before these arrows existed.

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Milton Bland 1 year, 7 months ago

It is a really tough situation, to have an elderly parent who loves to be independent and in most ways is capable of living on his/her own. But some of these older folks should not be driving. We must find a solution to this problem or we will keep killing people. I wish I could suggest a good solution as I still ride a motorcycle and I am not too far from achieving "senior" status myself.

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Hoots 1 year, 7 months ago

My Father is 82 and I wish the state would make him take some kind of real driving test on a regular basis. He was a great driver years ago but he's terrible and scary now. I can't take his keys away as he's an adult of sound mind. If I could take his keys I would. I wish the state would do a better job of regulating older drivers. If the state told him he couldn't drive anymore then that would be that.. I worry about him hurting someone. His coordination is so much worse than it was 10 years ago. The fact is as you age your eyesight diminishes, your reflexes are slower, and your ability to reason decreases. These are all bad when it comes to operating a 3500 pound vehicle. Some people are sharp longer than others but at some point they become dangerous.

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Jean Robart 1 year, 7 months ago

This gentleman was not in any way at fault in this accident. He was making a legal right turn. The 79 year old driver was at fault. Maybe it would be a good idea to either have her test drive every year to renew her license---or yank her license to drive altogether. Renewal every four years is much too long a time for a driver in his/her late 70s.

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madman 1 year, 7 months ago

This is horrible for everyone involved. I do know the driver and she is a sweet, wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers go out to all that this impacts.

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justfornow 1 year, 7 months ago

Look at the facts countrygirl and then look in the mirror.

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msezdsit 1 year, 7 months ago

When you have an intersection where one direction has a flashing red and the other a flashing yellow, it is a booby trap inviting confusion and accidents. I don't know that this is the case at this intersection but it was an accident and I don't think this woman's age is a factor as many here are assuming. Thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Miller and his family and friends. Such a sad loss of life.

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Benjamin Roberts 1 year, 7 months ago

My condolences to the families. This is a tragedy for all.

Part of the problem is the recent (past few years) addition of flashing yellow left-turn arrows. They confuse many drivers. Drivers for years have treated the yellow turn-lane light as the last chance to make the left turn; expecting that oncoming traffic would be getting a green and the left-turn would be going red. However, a few years ago, state highways started using the flashing yellow arrow on left-turn lanes as a yield when oncoming traffic has the green light. Drivers without the experience of the flashing yellow arrow believe that oncoming traffic still has the red light and erroneously turn in front of unsuspecting drivers.

I am not excusing what happened; but, I have seen many people make this mistake on south Iowa and 34th (Walmart/Southwind)

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swampyankee 1 year, 7 months ago

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 7 months ago

Everyone be extra careful out there all the time. Look at least TWICE before you make any decision. Condolence to families involved.

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grammaddy 1 year, 7 months ago

My condolences to the families on both sides.

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MacHeath 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think posters should be hard on the driver. I am sure she feels terrible. Motorcycles are hard too see sometimes. Motorcycle drivers know this, and try watch for it. You can never just assume that a driver is going to yield to you, even if you are driving a car. Jail?? what if she was your mother?
How many of you have run a yellow light? accidentally , or on purpose? i guess, if you are perfect, you don't do things like that. Bad things happen to good people, folks! What do you want to do? Gather a crowd of sanctimonious posters, and go after the poor woman with pitchforks? Are you effing crazy??

This sort of reaction also demeans the loss of the victims family, and friends. You can take the time make demeaning allegations about the driver of the car (who you know nothing about). But not take the time to show any sympathy for the victim? How effed up is that?

My sympathy to the friends and family of Mr. Miller, and am sorry for their loss. My sympathy also to Mrs. Statler, and her friends and family, as I am sure they are feeling pretty down about this tragic event.

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Crazy_Larry 1 year, 7 months ago

These accidents are happening more and more frequently. How many more must needlessly die before we demand our lawmakers bring tighter controls on these rolling death machines? Condolences to those involved in this tragedy.

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KansasLiberal 1 year, 7 months ago

The state has upped the requirements for teen drivers in the last decade, and this accident is more proof that they need to up the requirements for older drivers as well.

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Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 7 months ago

Is this the Steve Miller who is a general contractor/home builder?

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