Drivers, passengers safe after 3-car highway collision
A three-vehicle collision occurred late Wednesday morning on U.S. Highway 24-40 just north of the Leavenworth/Douglas county line.
According to those at the scene, no serious injuries resulted from the crash.
Later in the day, a burned patch of grass, skid marks and shards of broken taillights were the only signs that hinted an accident had occurred at the bend of the highway.
Just before noon, Chris McClendon 16, was about ready to deliver his last of four loads for Himpel Lumber Co. He had dropped off a load near Bonner Springs and was heading north on U.S. 24-40 Highway in a company pickup truck.
He said he didn't realize that a box truck ahead of him had stopped.
"I came up, hit my brakes and tried to get around him," McClendon said. "I smacked right into the back of him."
Robert Cramer, who was driving the box truck for the Basehor Cabinet Shop, said he had pulled to a stop because a van in front of him was turning west.
Cramer said he saw the Himpel truck approaching, so he swerved to the right to avoid hitting the van in front of him. In doing so, the collision knocked his front bumper into the van's rear bumper, rather than making a direct hit.
"The corners of the bumpers hit," Cramer said.
The driver of the van, Kim Bellemere, said she and her children, 8 weeks old and 2 years old, weren't hurt. All were using seatbelts or child seats.
Bellemere, who lives in rural Lawrence, had been returning home from Lawrence and was stopped to make a left turn onto a gravel road when her vehicle was struck.
Shortly after the accident occurred, Donald Dyster, owner of the Basehor Cabinet Shop, and Charlie Ussery, owner of Himpel Lumber, arrived at the scene.
Just two weeks ago, Dyster was driving his pickup truck on U.S. Highway 24-40 west of Basehor when his vehicle collided with a semi trailer truck. After a couple of days in the hospital, he was able to go home. Dyster said it was only because he drove a larger-than-normal-sized pickup truck, and had his seatbelt fastened that he survived the crash.
As he looked over Wednesday's accident scene, Dyster said he was relieved.
"I'm glad everybody was wearing seatbelts and everything seems to be OK," Dyster said.