Tonganoxie police chief commended for actions at scene of motorcycle accident
Caicey Jones doesn’t remember much about the time she spent on May 6 in Tonganoxie.
But she said she’s alive today because of Tonganoxie Police Chief Jeff Brandau.
Jones was riding on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with Che Martinez. The couple was heading back to St. Joseph, Mo., from a photo shoot in Wellsville.
About 7:30 p.m. that day, a 14-year-old Tonganoxie youth driving a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze failed to yield to Martinez’s motorcycle, which was headed north on County Road 5 at Parallel Road.
Martinez lost part of his left leg below the knee, while Jones suffered serious injury to her face.
They had to undergo several surgeries, Martinez on his leg and Jones for cosmetic surgery on her face and injuries to her leg, knee and ankle.
Both were taken to Kansas University Hospital from the scene. Jones spent eight days as a patient — including a few days in a coma. Martinez was a patient for 16 days.
Both said they were able to recover because Brandau was first on the scene.
“Words can’t explain how thankful we are for his actions and the chance to meet him for a second time,” Martinez said Sunday during a ceremony at Cornerstone Family Worship. “The first time could have been better.”
The couple, as well as their parents, returned Sunday to Tonganoxie for a meal at American Legion Post 41 put on in the Cornerstone church basement.
American Legion Post Commander Don Harden led a ceremony after the meal for Brandau, commending the chief for his assistance at the scene.
Martinez then handed the framed certificate after saying an emotional few words.
Brandau said he happened to be in the right place at a crucial time.
“I was just mowing the lawn,” said Brandau, who lives in the area. “They’re tough kids.”
Because Jones doesn’t remember the accident, she said Sunday was her first time meeting the police chief.
Jones said she was thankful for Brandau’s actions with being the first responder on the scene. He kept her airway open.
Martinez stressed that he and Jones probably wouldn’t be alive today had it not been for Brandau’s actions.
Jones’ parents gave Brandau a decorative cross and a Doniphan County Sheriff badge. Jones’ family is from Highland, which is 30 miles west of St. Joseph in Doniphan County.
Brandau said he appreciated the recognition.
“I love Tonganoxie and I’m very fortunate to be a part of it,” he said.
Martinez and Jones have a motorcycle company in which he builds the bikes and she paints them. The accident unfortunately has halted their operations as they continue to recover.
The 14-year-old, who had a 16-year-old passenger, was cited for multiple driving violations in the accident. The Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office did not release the youths' names at the time of the wreck because they are juveniles.