A dog trainer and her passengers — including at least five crated show dogs — escaped serious injury Thursday morning when their van rolled on its side following a two-car crash near downtown Wichita.
The woman was driving a full-sized van eastbound on Kellogg Drive near downtown when she was struck in the intersection by another van — identified as a Rotor-Rooter service vehicle by a Sedgwick County dispatcher — that turned left off of southbound Main Street, Wichita police traffic Officer Rick Sears said. The impact forced the woman’s van on its side.
The accident occurred around 9:30 a.m. Authorities said they think everyone was properly restrained. Both drivers told police they had the right of way, but authorities think at least one person ran a red light, Sears said.
A 31-year-old man who arrived on the scene after the crash said his 21-year-old girlfriend was driving the full-sized van to pick up more dogs on her way to a dog show in Topeka, he said. His girlfriend trains and exhibits the dogs for clients, he said.
The couple’s 8-month-old daughter was strapped in the back seat behind her mother — the area that received the brunt of the impact, he said. An 11-year-old girl who owns two of the dogs and 19-year-old woman were also in the van, he said. All of the dogs were in crates.
The two girls were transported to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis with possible minor injuries. The 19-year-old woman refused EMS on scene, but later said she would seek treatment for pain in her side.
The man, who requested his name not be used, said he was relieved to get a text message from his girlfriend while he was loading up the dogs to return to their kennel or owners after the accident. It said the baby was OK. But he knows the accident could have been worse.
“I’m glad because I put that car seat in myself,” he said. “I strapped it in tight, so I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.”
The man driving the service van was also taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis for evaluation, Wichita fire Lt. Scott Kleinschmidt said.
Shortly after the crash, the dogs — uninjured and still crated — waited patiently for their owners or others to retrieve them from the accident site.
“They were shaken up a bit, but no one was hurt,” Sears said of the dogs.
Eastbound Kellogg Drive from Main to Market was closed for more than two hours while authorities interviewed witnesses and swept broken glass from the road.