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2 Starkey Inc. residents killed, 6 other people injured in crash

Wichita police investigate after a fatal crash Friday afternoon at the intersection of Newell and Young, involving a Starkey van.
Wichita police investigate after a fatal crash Friday afternoon at the intersection of Newell and Young, involving a Starkey van. The Wichita Eagle

Editor’s note: One of the men killed in the crash was 46. His age was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

Two Starkey residents were killed and a third was in critical condition Friday evening following a violent collision near Starkey headquarters in west Wichita.

Around 3:45 p.m., a Cadillac Escalade crashed into a Starkey van at the intersection of Newell and Young, injuring eight people total, according to a Sedgwick County emergency dispatcher. That’s just southwest of Central and West.

The Escalade came to rest upside down, and the Starkey van sustained significant side-impact damage.

One of the residents was thrown from the vehicle, a witness at the scene said.

In the Starkey van, five were injured – three residents and two staff members, according to Jamie Opat, Starkey’s director of communications.

As of 8 p.m., two of the residents, both men, had died and a third was in critical condition at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, according to Via Christi spokeswoman Roz Hutchinson. One of the Starkey staff members was in fair condition and the other had been treated and released by 11 p.m.

From the Escalade, one was in fair condition and the other had been treated and released by 11 p.m., Hutchinson said.

One patient from a third vehicle, whose involvement is yet unknown, was treated and released, she said.

Intoxication suspected

Wichita police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow said Friday evening that “the driver of (the Escalade) is suspected of being intoxicated” at the time of the crash. The Escalade was traveling at high speed and failed to stop at a stop sign on Newell, Woodrow said.

After the crash, the Escalade driver attempted to flee the scene on foot, she said, but police quickly apprehended him.

One of the men killed was 46 years old and had been with Starkey since December; the second was 26 and had been with Starkey almost five years.

Starkey Inc. owns 42 homes in the Wichita area and provides day services and transportation to people with mental disabilities.

The van was taking three Starkey residents home from its day program when the collision occurred, Opat said.

“It’s a heartbreaking situation,” she said. “Our thoughts are obviously with the families and the individuals who are impacted by this.”

More information on the crash is expected to be released at a Saturday news briefing.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

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