Call for safety improvements at intersection near Viola follows crash that killed mother, 4 children

a fire hydrant in the middle of a field: A memorial in Sedgwick County marks the intersection where a mother and four children died in a crash Friday (Sept. 25, 2020).

© Provided by Wichita-Hutchinson Plus KWCH-DT
A memorial in Sedgwick County marks the intersection where a mother and four children died in a crash Friday (Sept. 25, 2020).

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – 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.


Load Error

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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