Report: Overbrook woman fell asleep before fatal accident on U.S. Highway 56

An Overbrook woman whose vehicle drifted left of the center line in a Jan. 3 fatality crash on U.S. Highway 56 told an investigator she fell asleep while driving, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol report.

Master Trooper Scott White has listed “driver inattention” and the fact that the driver, Joann O’Brien, fell asleep as contributing factors to the crash that occurred around 1 p.m. Jan. 3 about nine miles west of Baldwin City, near Worden.

O’Brien, 76, was headed home from Lawrence when her westbound 2006 Dodge Caravan minivan drifted into the eastbound lane and struck a 2008 Ford F-150 pickup truck, driven by Darren S. Othick, 42, of Baldwin City.

O’Brien told a trooper in an interview that she fell asleep before a woman in the back seat hollered at her, causing her to wake up and slam on her brakes, but it was too late, the accident report said.

O’Brien has since been treated and released from Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. A front-seat passenger in the minivan Jamie J. Ullery, 47, died Jan. 18 at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., from injuries she suffered in the crash, according to the report. O’Brien’s back-seat passenger, Alice Jean Beatty, 51, of Independence, Mo., also was taken to KU Hospital.

Othick has said he received outpatient treatment at a hospital. Othick’s two children in the truck, Caleb, 12, and Kara, 10, were taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and have since been released.

White wrote that troopers would forward the report to Douglas County prosecutors once toxicology test results are complete from a sample taken from O’Brien.