Butler County rollover crash kills Wichita woman, 34

04/11/2014 3:59 PM

04/13/2014 11:08 AM

A 34-year-old Wichita woman died Friday afternoon when her convertible rolled into a ditch on K-254 near Southwest Tawakoni Road, east of Benton.

Maria L. Rodriguez was westbound on the highway when her 2006 Ford Mustang drifted off the pavement and into the grassy center median at 2:48 p.m., Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Adam Hankins said.

“She definitely overcorrected, reacted to that, and then shot back across the two westbound lanes and went into the ditch on the north side of the highway,” he said.

Authorities think Rodriguez’s car rolled at least four times. Four people – two in vehicles following the Mustang and two outside of a house in a nearby field – rushed to her aid, Hankins said, but she was pronounced dead by the first paramedic who arrived.

“She was pinned in the car when the witnesses stopped,” he said. “She had her seat belt on. They removed it and started performing immediate life-saving actions, but to no avail.

“She had a traumatic head injury and there was no way that she was going to survive.”

The car “was a convertible so it can’t sustain a lot of damage on the roof,” he said.

Hankins said Rodriguez was driving home to Wichita from her job in El Dorado when the crash happened. She was alone in the car. No other vehicles were involved, he said.

A preliminary investigation revealed no evidence Rodriguez was impaired, distracted by text messages or phone calls, trying to pass another vehicle or forced off the road into the median, Hankins said.

“Why she drifted off the roadway, we may never know that answer because only she knows,” he said. “But we don’t have any reason to believe that there was anything other than those facts involved.”

An autopsy on Rodriguez’s body will likely take place Monday, Hankins said.

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