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Rescued ‘silver alert’ driver dies

Staff writer

David Sawdy, the 85-year-old Andover resident whose disappearance March 31 led to an extensive search in Marion County, has died.

“Daddy passed,” his daughter, Terri Elliot, texted a Record reporter Sunday.

Sawdy became lost while driving the afternoon of March 31 to an eye appointment at 13th and Rock Rds. in Wichita.

After a series of wrong turns and misunderstood directions, he found himself stranded without gas on US-50 at Wagon Wheel Rd. near Florence.

Although normally reserved for missing people with dementia, from which he did not suffer, a silver alert for him went out at 10 p.m. March 31.

A driver reported at 4 p.m. April 1 — as much as a day after Sawdy had become stranded there — seeing Sawdy’s truck parked on the eastbound shoulder of US-50.

After stopping, Sawdy had set out on foot south on Wagon Wheel.

Once alerted to his truck along the highway, law enforcement officers used search dogs, a drone, and a Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter to try to find him.

They called off the search for the 50-year Boeing employee about 10:30 p.m. April 1.

At some point, Sawdy had fallen into a ravine near Doyle Creek on Wagon Wheel.

A Douglass couple who wanted to help find him did just that about an hour after the search was called off.

They spotted a hand waving from a ravine off Wagon Wheel north of 90th.

Although initially reported to be uninjured, Sawdy was taken to St. Luke Hospital, Marion, then transferred to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis Hospital, Wichita, where he was transferred Friday to intensive care.

Because of his overnight exposure, his lungs had become inflamed, and he was struggling with aspiration. His condition continued to deteriorate until his death.

More information will be published in Wednesday’s Record.

Last modified April 10, 2023

 

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