Archive for Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Accident claims life on 24-40

June 24, 2009

Shelli Stimach

Shelli Stimach

After Stephen and Shelli Stimach first met, Shelli made at least a weekly habit of dropping a rose off where Stephen’s mother worked so that his mother could then deliver it to her son, who at the time lived in her home. A few months later, the two were married in Kansas City, Kan.

July 9 would have been their 27th wedding anniversary.

On June 16, Shelli Stimach was the victim of a fatality accident south of Tonganoxie. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She was 47.

“She loved doing crafts, crocheting, just making different things, craft-type stuff,” Stephen Stimach said. “She was a real outgoing person; loved bowling. And just loved being with the kids and grandkids.”

The accident occurred about 9:45 p.m. June 16 near Kansas Avenue on U.S. Highway 24-40, just south of Tonganoxie. Justin M. Wiles, 32, Tonganoxie, was driving north on U.S. 24-40 when his 1998 Chevrolet Lumina went left of center and struck Stimach’s 2003 Nissan Altima head-on, according to Kansas Highway Patrol reports.

Stephen Stimach said his wife was heading to work at Berry Plastics in Lawrence. She had been working there since December and also was taking nursing classes at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Stephen said his wife had worked for DSW Shoes, opening stores across the country, but lost her job in November. Since then, she had been taking nursing classes. Shelli had gotten into nursing at the encouragement of a daughter who is a nurse, Stephen said.

At the June 16 accident, Wiles, 32, Tonganoxie, was taken to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. A hospital official there said Tuesday Wiles was in fair condition.

Stimach was wearing a seatbelt; Wiles was not, reports also said. Alcohol was found to not be a factor in the crash, Edna Buttler, KHP public information officer, said Friday. She said the crash still was under investigation and that the KHP is awaiting word on Wiles’ blood test results for other substances. Buttler said it’s possible results would be known by the end of this week.


eicrifle 9 years, 5 months ago

I live between Tongy and Lawrence off of 24/40. It is a dangerous stretch of road because it's not straight like most every other road around these parts. It runs at a diagonal to almost every road that crosses it. There are very few "square" intersections which gives drivers an oblique view of on-coming traffic which makes it more difficult to judge distance and rates of closure. I believe that contributes to the numerous accidents at the intersections. All the subtle twists and turns of the road (especially the one near Kansas Ave) make it easy to drift over the center-line for people not paying attention. I see quite a few folks talking on cell phones or texting as I drive on 24/40. I've often wondered why the curve on 24/40 near Kansas Ave isn't governed by a slower speed limit. I think it's enough of a curve to warrant greater caution. My heart goes out to the Stimach family.


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