Archive for Friday, June 8, 2012

More details released about accident that killed Topeka man

June 8, 2012


A Douglas County Sheriff’s officer last Saturday administered field sobriety tests to the driver of a Jeep that a Topeka man fell from and later died.

“He passed all of those,” said Sgt. Steve Lewis, a Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman.

The accident occurred about 8:05 p.m. Saturday on private property in the 1800 block of East 56 Road in northwestern Douglas County. Mark Coker, who turned 43 two days before the accident, died Sunday at Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka.

An accident report released Friday identified the Jeep’s driver as Craig A. Heersink, 41, of Tecumseh. He was driving the 1998 Jeep Wrangler northeast on a private gravel road when Coker, who was riding on the rear bumper, fell and suffered a head injury. No one else was hurt.

Three other people were riding inside the vehicle with Heersink. It was unknown if any of the four wore seat belts. The report said a 24-year-old Topeka man was riding on the back bumper with Coker, who was a longtime employee of the Shawnee Heights school district.

The report notes officers observed signs Heersink had drunk alcohol, but it does not say alcohol contributed to the accident.

Lewis said the sheriff’s office would forward information about the accident to Douglas County prosecutors to review because it resulted in a fatality. The accident report lists no traffic citations or contributing circumstances.


Steve Swaggerty 5 years, 10 months ago

The man is deceased. Does it really matter whether he had been drinking or not? Rather than besmirch this man's name couldn't the LEO's involved show a little sympathy and compassion? Just my opinion. I could be wrong.

commonsenselawrence 5 years, 10 months ago

Are you suggesting law enforcement should turn a blind eye because someone died in an automobile accident? Law enforcements role is to investigate accidents to determine their cause and if someone's negligence contributed to the accident. It not only holds people accountable for their actions but also gives families the closure they need of knowing what exactly happened that led to the death of their loved one. I am hoping you maybe read the article wrong ....

lainey 5 years, 10 months ago

the article is talking about whether the DRIVER of the jeep had been drinking not the man who died.

imastinker 5 years, 10 months ago

I for one don't condone drunken driving and don't appreciate anyone that does - calling it "compassionate" or anything else. The deceased wasn't driving, and if the driver made the decision to drive while intoxicated I hope he ends up being punished for it.

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