52-year-old woman dies in accident on 24-40
A 52-year-old Tonganoxie woman was killed in a three-vehicle accident during the Tuesday morning commute on U.S. Highway 24-40, just south of Tonganoxie.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Rita Dally was killed in the 7:33 a.m. accident as she was traveling north toward Tonganoxie and stopped to make a left turn onto Honey Creek Road.
Her vehicle, a 1997 Dodge Van, was struck from behind by a 1998 Ford sport utility vehicle driven by Sara Schlicht, 16, Tonganoxie. Mrs. Dally's van then was struck by another northbound vehicle, a 1996 Buick, driven by Timothy Bohannan, 29, Topeka.
Mrs. Dally, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the patrol said.
Bohannan was listed in fair condition Tuesday night at Lawrence Memorial, and his passenger, Mike Bohannan, 30, Merriam, was treated and released, hospital officials said. Neither man was wearing a seat belt, the patrol said.
Neither Schlicht, nor her passenger, Rob Schlicht, 14, was injured. Both were wearing seatbelts, the patrol said.
Ronda Trieb, who lives near Jarbalo and travels 24-40 to work at a Lawrence dental office several days a week, watched in horror as the accident unfolded in front of her.
Trieb, who was driving south on 24-40, said a car traveling in front of her went into the ditch to avoid the crash. Trieb was able to stop and pull off onto Honey Creek Road, west of the highway.
"She got hit from the front and back," Trieb said, still shaken from the accident. ''... There was no time for anybody to stop."
Trieb said she tried to comfort Mrs. Dally, telling her that help was on the way.
"I don't feel like I did anything," she said. "I talked to her."
Trieb said an ambulance and firefighter arrived within minutes after she had placed a 9-1-1 call.
"Not even five minutes," she said. "They were fast. They did an excellent job."
The busy two-lane highway was closed after the accident, as emergency medical workers first rushed to aid Mrs. Dally and others, and later as sheriff's officers and highway patrolmen investigated the accident. Many smaller vehicles -- passenger cars and small trucks -- were able to turn around and detour around the accident. But numerous tractor-trailers waited until the highway reopened after 9 a.m.