KHP identifies 3 killed in fiery Marion County crash

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 1:14 PM CST
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HILLSBORO, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: Three people died Friday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash in Marion County. Two children were sent to a Wichita hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The crash happened around the lunch hour on Highway 56, just east of Hillsboro. The Kansas Highway Patrol said one of the vehicles involved swerved left of center and hit the other. Right now, troopers still don’t know what caused the vehicle to swerve. In its crash log, the KHP said a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan was traveling east on U56 (Highway 56) when it went left of center and hit a 2000 Ford F-150, head-on.

The driver of the Caravan (a minivan), identified as 30-year-old Nathan D. Puett, of Salina, died in the crash, as did the driver and one passenger in the F-150. The KHP identifies the pickup’s driver as James L. Potter, 70, of Emporia and the passenger as 61-yera-old Jody L. Potter, also of Emporia.

Two children injured in the crash were passengers in the minivan.

The F-150 was also pulling a trailer with roughly 20 greyhound dogs inside. Friday afternoon, troopers said three dogs had died, and they had yet to locate the others. A veterinarian was on the scene within minutes, and as of Friday evening, was caring for five of the dogs. Anyone who may locate one of the dogs still at-large after the crash should call the Animal Health Center in Marion at 620-382-8800.

Family members were following behind the vehicle when the crash happened.

“We certainly have some witnesses who were traveling behind the vehicles involved that witnessed the crash taking place and pulled to the shoulder, So we’ve taken their statements and we’re using that to get some clarity to this,” KHP Trooper Ben Gardner said. “But speed, we don’t think is the factor. There’s nothing at this moment indicating any type of impairment.”

The Kansas Highway Patrol is working a multiple fatality crash on Highway 56 east of Hillsboro, according to Trooper Ben Gardner.

Gardner said two “personal type” vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire Friday afternoon.

The highway will be shut down “for hours.”

Eyewitness News has a crew headed to the scene to gather more information.

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