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Well-known volunteer airlifted to Wichita after Sunday accident

News editor

Fred Puttroff, 62, of Marion, was seriously injured Sunday when, according to police reports, he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle on US-77 south of Lincolnville.

Puttroff was riding south on the highway between 260th and 270th Rds. when a southbound 2004 Toyota 4Runner driven by Mary Cunningham, 22, of Andover, came up on him from behind, hitting him on the left side and knocking Puttroff and the bicycle into the ditch.

Cunningham was aware of having collided with something as she pulled off the road a few hundred yards later, but apparently did not realize she struck a bicyclist, sheriff sergeant Mike Ottensmeier said.

“On Sunday evening I got a radio call of a vehicle that hit an object on US-77 between 260th and 270th Rds.,” Ottensmeier said. “She didn’t know what she’d hit, but she wanted an officer to check the car.”

Minutes later, Ottensmeier learned the accident was more serious.

“I’m on Remington Rd. at about 250th when I hear an ambulance paged out to the same location, but now it’s being paged as a person being hit by a car,” he said.

Marion ambulance and Lincolnville first responders joined Ottensmeier at the scene, administering aid to Puttroff in the ditch as they awaited the arrival of a Lifeteam helicopter. Additional Lincolnville firefighters and sheriff’s deputies shut down traffic and established a landing zone for the helicopter, which transported Puttroff to Wesley Medical Center.

Radio transmissions indicated Puttroff had a compound fracture of his left arm, a severe concussion, and possible internal injuries.

Ginny Lind of Marion is secretary of Eastmoor United Methodist Church, which Puttroff attends. Through contacts with Putroff’s sister, Lind confirmed Tuesday that Puttroff also suffered fractures in his neck and back.

Cunningham was transported to St. Luke Hospital by Marion ambulance.

“We needed to get her checked out because she had been through a traumatic incident,” Ottensmeier said. “She was extremely shaken up, she had no family members around, and her vehicle wasn’t drivable.”

Puttroff was riding along the white line on the edge of the highway, Ottensmeier said, had LED lights on, and was wearing reflective tape.

“He was doing the right things,” he said.

The accident report filed by Ottensmeier indicated Cunningham was distracted by a cell phone.

Ottensmeier said Cunningham told him she had just completed a cell phone call and took her eyes off the road to put the cell phone down when the collision occurred.

“It was that split-second decision to put her phone down, and he was right there,” Ottensmeier said.

No charges had been filed as of Tuesday, Ottensmeier said.

“It’s a tragic accident all around,” he said. “Sunday night was a very stiff lesson to a 22-year-old young lady and every officer, EMT, and firefighter who was there.”

As of Tuesday, Putroff was receiving necessary medical care at Wesley, Lind said.

“We need to caution people not to visit or send cards at this time,” she said.

Lind said questions about Puttroff’s progress could be directed to her by calling the Eastmoor church office.

Last modified Sept. 3, 2015

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