Archive for Thursday, June 3, 2004

Speed believed to be factor in wreck

5 Baldwin teenagers sent to hospital

June 3, 2004

Excessive speed is believed to be the reason five Baldwin teenagers hit a tree last week, sending all five to the hospital.

Baldwin Police Chief Mike McKenna said 17-year-old Jessica Schoonover lost control of her 1994 Ford Taurus as it crossed the railroad tracks in west Baldwin and crashed into a tree in the 1000 block of Lawrence Street on May 26.

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Passengers in the car were Schoonover's sister, Amanda Schoonover, 16, Meryl Baker, 17, Hannah Mackie, 16, and Elizabeth Beaulieu, 16.

Amanda Schoonover, Baker and Beaulieu were transported by ambulance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where they were treated and released. Jessica Schoonover was taken by a private vehicle to LMH, where she was also treated and released.

Mackie was transported to University of Kansas Medical Center, where she remained through at least Friday. No official condition was available for Mackie on Wednesday.

McKenna said the teenagers were driving north on Lawrence Street at a high rate of speed at about 5 p.m. last Wednesday when they crossed the railroad tracks.

"Evidence indicates the vehicle was traveling at an unsafe speed for the conditions of the road," he said. "Officers believe once the vehicle crested the railroad tracks, it went airborne for a short distance before landing and hitting a tree."

All four passengers were wearing seat belts, he said, but Jessica Schoonover was not. She was cited for reckless driving and not wearing a seat belt.

McKenna said the teenagers' injuries could have been much more serious.

"From looking at the investigation reconstruction of the accident, and considering the speed and road conditions, these teenagers were very fortunate that these injuries were not any worse than they were," he said.

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