Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Principal: Teen killed in wreck had a smile to remember

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 6/13/2014

John “Bubba” Louis Smith wasn’t an outspoken student, Ryan Cobbs, Ottawa High School principal, said. But he was noticed for his smile and his work ethic, he said.

Smith and his sister Alexis Jo “A.J.” Woolsoncroft were killed Monday afternoon in a three-vehicle wreck on I-70 in western Kansas. He will be remembered by teachers and friends for his sunny personality, Cobbs said.

John “Bubba” Louis Smith wasn’t an outspoken student, Ryan Cobbs, Ottawa High School principal, said. But he was noticed for his smile and his work ethic, he said.

Smith and his sister Alexis Jo “A.J.” Woolsoncroft were killed Monday afternoon in a three-vehicle wreck on I-70 in western Kansas. He will be remembered by teachers and friends for his sunny personality, Cobbs said.

“He was never going to get in trouble, but he was also that kid you noticed in the hallway that smiled every day and had a good time,” Cobbs said. “He’s the kid that would always walk up and say hello and engage in conversation. He was just a really nice kid.”

Smith, 17, Ottawa, might not have been an athlete, but he was known for his love of automotive endeavors, Cobbs said. Teachers knew him for his good school work and his network of friends.

“He did have a large core group of friends,” Cobbs said. “They loved him and he participated in a lot of things with them.”

Woolsoncroft was a sixth grade student at Baldwin Junior High School and was active in her youth group at Westminister Presbyterian Church, 401 W. 13th St., Ottawa, the family said in her obituary.

Smith and Woolsoncroft, 12, Baldwin City and Ottawa, were pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. The family could not be reached for comment.

A 2009 Pontiac driven by Smith was traveling eastbound about 3:30 p.m. on I-70 one mile east of the Ogallah, Kansas, exit when Smith lost control of the vehicle and it crossed the median, entering the westbound lanes where it first struck a 2007 Kenworth tractor-trailer driven by Dennis Bowers, 49, Cardington, Ohio, and then struck a 2014 Nissan driven by Kevin Werner, 54, Derby, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol report.

Another passenger in the Pontiac, Alejandra Gutierrez-Pino, 17, Ottawa, Smith’s girlfriend, was transported to Hays Medical Center to be treated for undisclosed injuries, the report said. Cobbs said Gutierrez-Pino is a student at Ottawa High School, but could not comment on her condition. An update on her condition was not available Friday evening.

Bowers and Werner also were injured and were transported to Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital in WaKeeney. Bowers later was transferred to Hays Medical Center, the report said.

All of the occupants of the three vehicles were wearing seat belts, the report said.

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