Two Harper County teens were killed and three others injured Friday afternoon when a truck and an SUV collided along at an intersection of dirt roads about a mile south of Harper, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.
Lt. Bryan Quick said there are no signs, including stop signs or right-of-way signs, at the intersection of Northeast 80th Road and Northeast 10th Avenue, where the “T-bone” crash that killed 17-year-old Ayron Maurer and 18-year-old Samuel Cook occurred at 4:30 p.m. Quick said that, based on an initial investigation, it appears both vehicles entered the rural Harper County intersection at about the same time, and the truck – a 2008 Chevy Silverado – struck the SUV on the passenger-side door.
The force of impact shoved both vehicles into a ditch, where they smashed into a gas line and broke a telephone pole about 30 feet away, Quick said.
When authorities arrived, they found the SUV “leaning against the telephone pole in the air,” he said. The truck hit the pole on the rear of the driver’s side.
“The impact (caused) ... some of the most substantial damage that I’ve seen in my time,” Quick said.
He added that speed appeared to be a contributing factor to the “severity of the accident.”
“There was a lot of energy expended,” he said.
Maurer, a Harper resident, and Cook, of Anthony, were killed at the scene, Quick said. Both were occupants of the SUV, a 2004 Chevy Avalanche, the patrol said in a crash report.
Of the three other teens who were injured, two were air-lifted to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita and one was taken by ambulance, Quick said. One of the boys, 14-year-old Colin Nygarrd of Anthony, also was a passenger in the SUV, according to a patrol crash report. He was listed in serious condition Saturday evening, a hospital operator said.
The others, Joshua Campbell and John Eshelman, both 15 and both of Harper, were in the truck, the crash report shows. Campbell, the driver, was in critical condition Saturday, the hospital operator said. She was unable to provide condition information for Eshelman but said he was still listed as a patient Saturday evening.
Quick said in cases where two vehicles enter an unmarked intersection at approximately the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way. He said in Friday’s collision that would have been the truck, which was northbound on Northeast 10th Avenue. The SUV was headed east on Northeast 80th, he said.
Harper is about 50 miles southwest of Wichita. The speed limit on the roads where the collision occurred is 55 mph, Quick said.