Baldwin man killed in U.S. 56 accident
By George Diepenbrock
An 81-year-old Baldwin man died and two Ottawa residents were injured after a head-on, two-vehicle accident Thursday afternoon on U.S. Highway 56 near Worden.
Medics and officers responded to the accident at 1:30 p.m., and the crash stopped highway traffic for more than two hours.
Harold Seele, 81, was driving a pickup truck eastbound on U.S. 56 and tried to make a left turn onto Douglas County Road 1039 in front of a westbound passenger car. The two collided in the west side of the intersection, said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Brady Flannigan.
The accident occurred about two miles west of the Baldwin Junction and near the Worden United Methodist Church, 298 E. 900 Road.
According to a highway patrol report released Thursday night, Seele was not wearing a seat belt. He was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and hospital staff later notified his family members that he had died, according to the report.
"As far as we know, there isn't any extenuating circumstance," Flannigan said at the scene.
"I don't believe that speed was a major factor. I believe possibly inattention may have come into play. At this point in our investigation, that's all we really know."
Carol Grimes, 73, Ottawa, who drove the westbound 2003 Chevrolet car, and her passenger, 73-year-old John Grimes, also of Ottawa, both suffered injuries.
Carol Grimes wore her seat belt and was taken to LMH, where she was listed in good condition Thursday night, a nursing supervisor said.
According to the accident report, troopers were unsure whether John Grimes wore a seat belt.
A LifeStar helicopter flew him to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.
A nursing supervisor said an update on his condition was not available Thursday night.
At the scene, Flannigan indicated that Grimes' injuries were critical.
Flannigan also said he considered the road there to be a "fairly safe stretch of highway," though it had no shoulders.