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US-50 ‘unforgiving’ but ‘safe’ after pair of head-on crashes

Peabody woman seriously hurt; driver in second crash dies

Staff writer

A stretch of US-50 near Peabody was the site of two car -semi crashes this week, one causing injury and the other a fatality.

A victim of an injury accident that occurred April 26 east of Limestone Rd. is still in surgical intensive care at Wesley Hospital in Wichita.

Veronica A. Crabtree, 64, Peabody, was taken to Wesley after her 2014 Hyundai Sonata struck a 2022 Freightliner head-on. The driver of the semi Ranjit Sekhon Singh, 35, of Fresno, California, was not injured.

Friends of Kaleb Lowery, 20, of Kearney, Missouri, who died in a crash three miles east of Peabody, have set up a GoFundMe account for his funeral.

Lowery was eastbound on U.S.-50 when his 2016 Ford Fiesta crossed the center line and hit a Freightliner driven by Ennis Parker Jr., 50, of Stockton, California.

The driver appeared to have been ejected from the vehicle which prompted first-responders to search for other passengers.

State trooper Ben Gardner said U.S.-50 has a lot of commercial traffic and doesn’t have the separation of a median, which could contribute to some accidents.

Joe Palic, an area engineer with the Kansas Department of Transportation, said the two accidents were miles apart, but their circumstances were similar. Both occurred when vehicles crossed the center line.

Neither crash had anything to do with the characteristics of the roadway, he said.

“I tell people around here that US-50 is not a dangerous highway, but it’s a very unforgiving highway,” he said. “It does have a very high percentage of trucks and if you cross the centerline, odds are it’s going to be a car-truck accident, and those are usually pretty bad.”

US-50 near Peabody sees about 4,000 vehicles a day and, of those, about 46% are heavy trucks, according to the latest traffic count conducted on that stretch of highway.

About 3,570 vehicles travel on the nearest comparable highway, US-56 near Hillsboro, Palic said. About 35% of them are heavy trucks.

Gardner there have been more fatality crashes on the state’s roads in 2020, according to KDOT about 5%.

Palic said US-50 has some safety features built into it.

“It’s got centerline rumble strips and edge rumble strips and wide shoulders,” he said. “There’s no steep hills. Its an open, wide, flat roadway.”

Last modified May 6, 2021

 

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