The Honda Accord flew past their vehicle so fast that the couple thought the Accord was being chased east on First Street minutes after midnight Tuesday.
Moments later, however, the driver of the Accord lost control in the 3800 block of East First, the witnesses told police. The car skidded sideways and slammed into a utility pole near Bluff in College Hill, instantly killing the 19-year-old driver, Lt. Joe Schroeder said.
The impact sheared the utility pole off at the ground, and the Accord then smashed into a residential wooden fence. The utility pole fell onto two cars parked at the residence, crushing them.
The victim was identified as John Damon Konek, 19, of Wichita.
He was driving at an “extremely high rate of speed,” Schroeder said of the victim. The couple in the car he passed moments before the crash said their vehicle shook from the force of his speed, he said.
There was no indication alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, Schroeder said. The victim was wearing his seatbelt, but “this crash was unsurvivable” because of the severity of impact.
Authorities blocked First Street for the rest of the night as investigators worked the crash scene and utility crews removed downed power lines. Power hadn’t been fully restored to the College Hill neighborhood late Tuesday afternoon, according to Westar Energy’s website.
The victim’s parents live in College Hill, Schroeder said, and officers are retracing the victim’s steps to see where he was in the final hours of his life.