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Fatal crash on North Woodlawn was street race, police say

A car remains at the scene of a fatal car crash Friday morning on Woodlawn north of 21st street where one person was found dead inside a burning car.
A car remains at the scene of a fatal car crash Friday morning on Woodlawn north of 21st street where one person was found dead inside a burning car. The Wichita Eagle

One person died and another was injured in a crash during a street race early Friday morning, police said.

The crash was reported at 2:51 a.m. Friday at Woodlawn and Ironhorse, a Sedgwick County emergency dispatcher said. That’s between 21st and 29th Street North.

By the time first responders arrived on the scene, the two-door Hyundai vehicle was “fully engulfed in flames,” Lt. Todd Ojile said. A 23-year-old man was found dead in the car once the flames were extinguished.

An 18-year-old girl — the driver’s girlfriend — was either thrown from the car as it was rolling prior to striking several trees or climbed out of the wreckage after the vehicle came to a stop, Ojile said. The car hit a couple of signs as well before it struck the trees with such force that it uprooted them.

The passenger “was dazed and confused” and walked several blocks to get her roommate before returning to the scene of the crash, where they found the vehicle in flames, Ojile said.

She was taken to Wesley Medical Center in serious condition. Detectives have not yet been able to interview her due to the nature of her injuries, Ojile said.

The driver of the Hyundai was stopped at a red light at 21st and Woodlawn when he decided to race a car next to his, Ojile said. The two cars touched or bumped at some point as they raced north on Woodlawn well above the posted speed limit of 40 mph. That sent the Hyundai off the road and into the trees, he said.

The second car, a four-door Chevrolet, was found in a parking lot at 21st and Rock Road, Ojile said. Police are still looking for the 19-year-old man who was driving it. The car belonged to a man who let his daughter drive it. She, in turn, allowed the 19-year-old driver to borrow the car, police said.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash, Ojile said, the second driver could face homicide charges.

Woodlawn remained closed between 29th Street North and Mainsgate as investigators process the crash scene.

“It’s quite a mess out there,” Ojile said.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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