Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Baker student in serious condition following Sunday wreck

September 5, 2007

Molly Larson, the 20-year-old Baker University student injured in a rollover accident Sunday, is in serious condition in a Kansas City-area hospital today, according to Baker Spokesman Steve Rottinghaus.

Larson, from Vancouver, Wash., was flown to the hospital in critical condition after the rollover wreck Sunday afternoon two miles southeast of Lawrence.

Rottinghaus said a prayer vigil was held for Larson Tuesday evening at the Osborne Chapel and was well attended.

Lt. Kari Wempe, a Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, said Larson was headed north on County Road 1055 at 12:30 p.m. when she veered off the east edge of the road. She tried to pull her vehicle back onto the road but lost control.

"It appears there was some overcorrection, which caused the vehicle to roll several times," Wempe said.

Witnesses said the white Nissan Pathfinder with a Washington state license plate ended up on its wheels in a ditch on the west side of the road facing south, although vehicle parts were strewn across the road.

The accident happened about two miles south of 31st Street and Haskell Avenue.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical workers extricated the woman from the vehicle. A helicopter ambulance then flew her to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.

On Sunday the sheriff's office did not release any more information about the driver, who was alone in the vehicle. Wempe said officers were still investigating what caused her to veer from the road.

Larry Caldwell, who lives at 1143 E. 1500 Road, was playing with his grandchildren in his backyard when he heard the wreck. The vehicle ended up in the ditch just feet away from a brick wall on his property.

He said the driver appeared bloodied and badly injured, and the vehicle was heavily damaged.

"It kind of puts a lump in your throat when you walk around from in the back of your house and see something like that," Caldwell said.

He said the driver had her seat belt on. By the time he ran into his house to call 911, a driver in a separate vehicle had already made the call.

Caldwell has lived at that address for about five years. He's seen a half-dozen serious wrecks on the stretch of road, although Sunday's appeared to be the most serious, he said.

He said he didn't know specifically what happened with Sunday's wreck, but that for several years he's thought generally that people drive too fast for the 55 mph speed limit.

"It's kind of getting out of control, and you hate to walk out and see people wrecking in front of your place," he said.

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