UPDATE: On Friday, March 8, a community meeting to discuss the intersection of 71st Street South and 135th Street West was announced. The meeting is being hosted by Sedgwick County 2nd District Commissioner Michael O’Donnell. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, in the Clearwater Middle School auditorium. Sedgwick County staff will be there to answer questions and listen to concerns.
The intersection of 135th Street West and 71st Street – a few miles north of Clearwater and west of Haysville – has the been the site of numerous accidents over the years.
The latest accident, which occurred Wednesday morning, March 6, hurt nine people, some of them critically.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department provided additional information on Thursday, including the names of the victims in the two-accident.
According to the sheriff’s department, a silver Toyota Corolla was traveling south on 135th Street West when an eastbound Ford Expedition going east on 71st Street South failed to stop at the stop sign. The Ford struck the Toyota. Preliminary results show the driver of the Ford became distracted and did not stop at the stop sign.
The Toyota was driven by 14-year-old Morgan Tobias. Passengers included her mother, Kimberly Tobias, 39, brother Caleb Tobias, 12, and Didrik Ytrehus, a 17-year-old foreign exchange student living with the family. The youths attend Clearwater schools, and Kimberly Tobias teach English as a second language (ESOL) in USD 264.
Kimberly Tobias was in the front with Morgan. Caleb Tobias and Ytrehus were in the back seat. Everyone in the Toyata was taken to Via Christi-St. Francis.
The Ford was driven by Motia Wesley, 21. There were four children in that vehicle: Alex Luben, 14; Caydence Luben, 12; Emma King, 5; and Calvin Hughes, 2.
As of Thursday afternoon, Caleb Tobias remained in critical condition at Wesley Medical Center.
“Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with the family,” said Clearwater USD 264 superintendent Paul Becker, who described the Tobias family as “wonderful.”
The crash happened about 7:09 a.m. Wednesday, and the first responders were on the scene at 7:21 a.m.
The intersection is frequently the site of accidents. Drivers on 71st Street have stop signs and flashing red lights. There are no rumble strips or other warning devices. There are no traffic controls for the north-south traffic on 135th Street.