• Last modified 226 days ago (Nov. 30, 2023)


GPS says: 'Turn right . . . into snowbank'

Staff writer

Traffic problems Saturday night weren’t all caused by snow, although snow and mud played a part in a semi, a tow truck, and a pickup getting stuck at Pawnee and 60th Rds.

Drivers using Google Maps GPS as they drove west on US-50 were routed down Pawnee Rd. to 60th, then a mile west to Old Mill Rd. before continuing toward Wichita, Undersheriff Larry Starkey said.

“It’s a back way to Wichita,” Starkey said. “I’ve driven it before, and it’s a decent road.”

GPS showed I-135 as being closed around Newton, he said.

“That must have been why they were going there,” Starkey said.

A semi going uphill toward 60th stopped at a stop sign, then attempted to turn west onto 60th Rd. and slid off the gravel road into the ditch, Starkey said.

A pickup behind the semi began sliding and stopped in the middle of the road. The pickup driver was unable to get going again.

Under normal conditions, the turn wouldn’t be a problem, but snowy and muddy roads made for another story, Starkey said.

A heavy wrecker called to pull the semi out of the ditch also got stuck and couldn’t get going, Starkey said.

‘The wrecker was on 60th and couldn’t move,” he said.

Deputies had all they could handle with accidents during the snowstorm, and people at the semi, tow truck, and pickup truck seemed safe and warm, so Starkey went to the intersection of US-50 and Pawnee Rd. to stop more people from taking the detour.

He was at Pawnee and US-50 until 2 a.m.

“It was just that one mile, and getting going, that caused a problem,” he said.

Last modified Nov. 30, 2023