Driver seriously injured when vehicle strikes gas meter, igniting fire

A Wichita man was seriously injured in a fiery crash near Derby early Friday morning, authorities said.

The accident was reported at 12:12 a.m. Friday, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said. A Ford Explorer left the road and struck a fence and gas meter at K-15 and 63rd Street South, Westar spokesman Nick Bundy said.

That ignited a fire, which spread to a nearby utility pole, Bundy said.

The driver, 42-year-old Donald Sutherland, suffered third-degree burns on his face and inhalation burns, authorities said. He was taken to the burn unit at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where he was in serious condition early Friday afternoon.

The incident knocked out power to about 1,700 Westar Energy customers in the Derby area for about 18 minutes early Friday morning, Bundy said.