Friday, July 25, 2014

Overbrook man suffered head injuries in K-68 work zone collision

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 5/16/2014

A construction worker who suffered head injuries when he was struck by a pickup in a K-68 construction zone Thursday morning about 1.5 miles east of Ottawa has been identified by authorities as William R. VanDorn.

The 62-year-old Overbrook man was struck 9:09 a.m. by a westbound 1989 Chevrolet pickup driven by William McNish, 73, Ottawa, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol report. McNish told law enforcement officers he did not see VanDorn, who was standing it the lane of traffic flagging down vehicles for a separate non-injury rollover involving a dump truck working at the construction site, the highway patrol report said. 

The pickup’s passenger-side front corner struck VanDorn, who was treated at the scene by Franklin County Emergency Medical Services and then transported by Life Start air ambulance to the University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kansas. VanDorn’s condition was unknown Friday, though he was thought to have suffered a potentially serious head injury, Jeff Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said Friday.

VanDorn is employed by Emery Sapp & Sons of Columbia, Mo. He was part of a crew working on a Kansas Department of Transportation pavement reconstruction project just east of I-35 on K-68, according to a KDOT news release.

A construction dump truck, loaded with asphalt milling materials, got its right tires caught in the uneven pavement at the construction site and rolled into a ditch 8:43 a.m. in front of the Walmart Logistics distribution center, 3300 K-68, Richards said. The driver of the truck was not injured, the sheriff said. The sheriff’s office, which worked the rollover, had not released the truck driver’s name Friday afternoon.

VanDorn, who was wearing a reflective vest, was trying to flag down vehicles after the rollover when he was struck, Richards said. 

McNish, the pickup driver, was not injured and was able to drive from the scene after being interviewed by authorities, according to the highway patrol report.

Law enforcement officials shut down a portion of K-68, from the I-35 interchange at Ottawa 11 miles east to the K-68 and K-33 intersection, for about four hours Thursday during the investigation.

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