Car smashes into entrance at Korean War Memorial in Wichita, leaves heavy damage

A portion of the Korean War Memorial in Wichita’s Veterans Memorial Park is off limits to the public after a driver crashed into it.
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 10:12 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Tuesday, June 7, 2022: A portion of the Korean War Memorial in Wichita’s Veterans Memorial Park is off limits to the public after a driver crashed into it Monday night.

A heavy emergency response comes after a car slammed into a structure at the Korean War Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park near downtown Wichita. The crash significantly damaged the memorial and the Camaro that hit it.

It was a shock to see for Wichita architect Robert Metoyer who works near Veterans Memorial Park and enjoys walking around the property.

“It’s definitely a safety concern as an architect. I can see there’s some significant damage to it and people need to be kept out of that area, but I really do help they can get it repaired soon,” Metoyer said.

At about 9:30 p.m. Monday, Wichita police said the 24-year-old driver of the white Camaro struck the Korean War Memorial entrance. Police said the driver north on Veterans Memorial Parkway when he lost control of the Camaro and hit the structure.

“It was really shocking. It’s an important memorial,” said Wichita Parks and Recreation Director Troy Houtman. “All of those memorials are important in that park, so we really take good care of that whole park and watch it very closely. It was a total surprise, but we know we’re going to get it fixed.”

Wichita firefighters shored up the structure with pieces of wood and the city fenced off the area.

The city said rebuilding the Korean War Memorial entrance could take months.

“There’s just a lot of detail that goes into this. We’re going ot be reconstructing a great memorial,” Houtman said. “So it’s just kind of disappointing and frustrating and sad, but we know how important it is and we’ll get it fixed.”

There were no serious injuries in the crash, but there was extensive damage to the memorial and a white Chevy Camaro that crashed into it. As of late Monday night, we’re working to get answers to several questions including what led up to the crash, whether the Camaro’s driver was cited, how severe the memorial was damaged, and what efforts are underway to secure the structure.

Stick with Eyewitness News online, here on www.kwch.com and on air throughout Tuesday morning on Eyewitness News This Morning with updates as we learn more.

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