Sheriff's Office: No charges filed in crash near Clearwater that injured 9
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says a driver ticketed for running a stop sign in a crash near Clearwater last March that injured nine people, won't face criminal charges.
The sheriff's office says it presented its case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office which reviewed the circumstances and decided not to file charges.
The driver at fault was issued a ticket for running a stop sign, the sheriff's office says.
A family of four was among the injured still recovering days after the crash at 71st Street South and 135th Street West, A 12-year-old boy remained in critical condition and his mother was listed as "serious" at a local hospital, a few days after the crash.
Especially before school, people in Clearwater say 135th and 71st streets are busy. The blacktop heads south to Clearwater and east to Haysville.
Several in the area view the intersection as dangerous and the crash drew attention form Sedgwick County leaders.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office says nine people injured in Wednesday morning's crash near Clearwater included four children, three teens and two adults.
The crash, reported about 7:21 a.m. at the intersection of 71st Street South and 135th Street West, involved a silver Toyota Corolla, driven by a 14-year-old girl and a white Ford Expedition, driven by a 21-year-old woman.
The sheriff's office says the Ford Expedition, traveling west on 71st Street South, failed to stop at the stop sign, leading to the collision with the Corolla, traveling south on 135th Street West.
All four people in the Toyota and five people in the Ford were injured in the crash, the sheriff's office says. A 12-year-old boy from the Toyota remains in critical condition at a Wichita hospital.
The sheriff's office says the other two passengers in the Toyota included a 39-year-old woman and a 17-year-old male. A 14-year-old boy, a 12 year-old girl, a 5-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy were passengers in the Ford.
"At this time, the accident is still under investigation, but preliminary results show the driver of the Ford became distracted and did not stop at the stop sign," the sheriff's office says.
Tears and hugs surrounded the sanctuary at Clearwater's United Methodist Church Wednesday night as a community hopes members of a family injured in Wednesday morning's crash will pull through.
Friends identify Caleb Tobias and his family among those injured
"The family I'm sure sooner or later will know that their friends and neighbors down here gathered on their behalf," Clearwater United Methodist Church Pastor Kendall Utt says.
The intersection at 135th Street and West 71st South has been an issue for years. Community leaders say something has to be done to make it safer. They say the intersection is the site of "many accidents" over the years, several of those fatal.
Nine people were hurt in a two-vehicle crash near Clearwater Wednesday morning. It happened around 7 a.m. at the intersection of 135th St. W. and 71st St S.
Capt. Mark Pierce, with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office said an SUV going east on 71st St. S. failed to yield at a stop sign and collided with a silver four-door passenger car that was going southbound on 135th St. W.
Three teens and an adult were in the passenger car. Three suffered critical injuries and one was seriously hurt. Pierce said he believed the teens were headed to school.
He said four young children and an adult were in the SUV. All five were taken to the hospital for treatment. Only one had serious injuries.
The Clearwater school district issued a statement confirmed four people connected to the district were involved in the crash and had been admitted to the hospital. School counselors will be on hand Thursday for students and teachers affected by the crash.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the accident as well as their family and friends," said Superintendent Paul Becker.
Larry Clark has lived in Clearwater for 36 years, and he's seen some bad crashes. He said there was once a hanging light at the intersection, but it was changed to flashing stop sign.
"I liked it better then and when they changed it. I don't know why because that red light on that sign is actually eye level, but I liked it better with the hanging light," he said.
Southbound 135th St. was closed north of the intersection for most of the morning while emergency crews worked the crash.