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Victim in fatal west Wichita crash identified

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at 1:11 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, at 2:50 p.m.

Police think Kaden Gottschalk was on his way home when his black Mazda sports car crashed shortly after midnight on Monday in far west Wichita.

But that stretch of 13th Street just east of 135th Street West is so sparsely traveled that the wreckage went unnoticed until shortly after 6:30 a.m., when a commuter spotted the car lying next to a community pool well off the roadway, Wichita Lt. Joe Schroeder said.

Gottschalk was driving west when his sporty four-door Mazda drifted off the right side of 13th, Schroeder said. He over-corrected the steering wheel, causing the Mazda to veer off the left side of the street.

The car went airborne for a short distance and struck a culvert, which caused it to begin to roll in mid-air. The roof of the car then struck three trees before the vehicle came to rest next to the community swimming pool, Schroeder said.

“Indications are this vehicle sat for several hours before being seen,” he said.

Schroeder said evidence indicates Gottschalk died almost instantly in the crash. The nature of the crash meant his injuries were not survivable.

Gottschalk was driving at “extreme high speed,” Schroeder said.

There was no indication of other vehicles or anything in the roadway at the time of the crash. Items from the car were strewn hundreds of feet, he said, and the distance the car traveled after leaving the street and the nature of the crash suggest the car was traveling at a high rate of speed.

“At this point I honestly can’t answer” whether Gottschalk was impaired by alcohol or other substances, Schroeder said.

Toxicology tests are being conducted, he said.

That stretch of 13th is a “fairly level, straight area,” Schroeder said.

“People tend to drive through that area at a high rate of speed late at night,” he said.

Speed enforcement may be stepped up in the wake of the crash, he said. The speed limit there is 40, and the markings and layout of the streets are appropriate for the traffic load in the neighborhood, he said.

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

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