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Police seek witness to crash that killed child

  • Published Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at 7:58 a.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, at 5:55 p.m.

Police are looking for the driver of a white truck that witnessed – and narrowly avoided – a fatal collision between two minivans on East Kellogg on Thursday morning.

The collision killed a 3-year-old boy and left three other children in critical condition at a local hospital.

The driver of the truck “is not in any trouble,” Wichita police Lt. Joe Schroeder said Friday.

As a witness to the collision east of Greenwich Road just after 8 a.m., Schroeder said, the man can confirm whether westbound traffic had a green light and the tan minivan driven by a 31-year-old woman turned left in front of a red minivan as she attempted to go north on Zelta.

Evidence suggests the left-turn light was red, but the woman turned left anyway, Schroeder said. The driver of the white truck left “deep tread marks” in the pavement as he hit the brakes hard and swerved to avoid the collision.

The Augusta man driving the westbound red minivan also braked hard and swerved, Schroeder said, but he hit the back of the turning minivan, sending it spinning. The impact ejected three young children from the tan minivan. Two others inside the van were also hurt.

One of the children, 3-year-old Mario Enrique Zamara-Portillo, was pronounced dead at 10:47 a.m. Thursday at Wesley Medical Center, a police report states.

A 10-year-old girl, who was in critical condition with a closed-head injury, improved to serious condition Friday afternoon, Wesley spokeswoman Susan Burchill said by e-mail. A 1-year-old and a 5-year-old who also sustained critical injuries had been upgraded to fair condition Friday and are expected to be released soon, she said.

The woman driving the tan minivan is the mother of the five children. She was injured but not hospitalized. Her 6-year-old daughter was discharged from Wesley shortly after 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

She could face criminal charges if the investigation determines charges are warranted, Schroeder said.

The driver of the red minivan sustained minor injuries, Schroeder said.

Any witness to the collision who has not talked to investigators is asked to call 316-268-4167.

The 3-year-old is the 21st traffic fatality of the year and the second child. Feodora Two-Hatchett, who was 6, was killed in a two-car collision on June 27 in southeast Wichita.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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