Rumble strips added to intersection near Viola after mother, 4 children die in crash

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 4:46 PM CDT
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VIOLA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: Friday, October 2, 2020: A week after a crash that killed five people, rumble strips are installed at the intersection of 71st Street South & 263rd Street West.

A mother and her four children died at the intersectin on Sept. 25 after their SUV struck a grain truck.

Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis said the rumble strips were installed on Thursday in the eastbound lanes of 71st Street South. They were already in the westbound lanes.

Dennis said the county is also looking at adding flashing lights to the intersection.

A celebration of life will be held for the family on Friday at 1 p.m. at the Conway Spring Park on the corner of Spring Ave and 8th St. 67031. The service is open to the public.

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office on Monday provided an update to its investigation into a Friday afternoon crash near Viola that killed four children and their mother.

The sheriff’s office said the family’s SUV was traveling southbound on 263rd Street West when the driver of a grain truck, traveling east on 71st Street South, failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection. The intersection of 263rd Street West and 71st Street South is where the SUV hit the rear of the grain truck’s trailer after the truck’s driver ran the sign, deputies said.

Sedgwick County is looking to make changes to the intersection with the goal of preventing another tragedy at the spot north of Viola in southwest Sedgwick County. The sheriff’s office, county engineers, and Public Works returned to the intersection Monday to see what they could implement. Some who live near 263rd West and 71st South say the intersection is not safe.

On Friday (Sept. 25), sheriff’s deputies and other emergency crews responded to two crashes at the intersection north of Viola, reported within hours of each other. The second crash fatally injured the mother and her four children. In both cases, the sheriff’s office said drivers failed to stop at a stop sign. Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis is among those saying there needs to be a change at the intersection.

“There will be two investigations, one by the sheriff’s department and then one by our director of public works, with our traffic safety engineer. But with an accident this significant, we need to get something to happen sooner rather than later,” Dennis said.

Dennis said rumble strips and flashing lights are needed additions to alert drivers to stop.

“So instead of, in this case, the tractor-trailer just going through the stop sign without even slowing down... Hopefully, by having some kind of feel and visual impact, that will wake (drivers) up that there’s something happening that they need to take action,” Dennis said.

He said the county already is working on getting something done toward its effort to prevent crashes at the intersection in southwest Sedgwick County.

“I talked to the director of public works again (Monday) morning and asked if we could expedite this as quickly as possible so that we can get something done at that intersection," Dennis said.

He said the rumble strips and/or flashing lights will be added sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, those wishing to support the family of the woman and four children killed in Friday’s crash can do so by donating to their GoFundMe campaign.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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