Highway Patrol: Drowsy driving leads to Turnpike crashes near Emporia on Sunday Featured

Highway Patrol: Drowsy driving leads to Turnpike crashes near Emporia on Sunday KVOE News file photo

Two wrecks with a consistent underlying reason happened on the Kansas Turnpike northeast of Emporia on Sunday.


In the evening crash, which happened about nine miles northeast of the Emporia gate and four miles northeast of the Emporia service center around 8:30 pm, 24-year-old Jacob Harrison of Iola told investigators he fell asleep behind the wheel of his car, which rear-ended a second car driven by 23-year-old Colt Ware of Sullivan, Missouri.

Ware's car left the highway and hit a barrier wall, while Harrison's car stopped on the highway. An ambulance took Ware to Newman Regional Health with suspected minor injuries. Harrison was not hurt. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts and were the only people in their respective cars.

The other crash developed almost 12 hours earlier at mile marker 148, a mile northeast of the Admire-Council Grove exit and 21 miles northeast of the Emporia gate. The Highway Patrol says 32-year-old Brenda Valtierrea of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, closed her eyes briefly before her SUV veered off the highway onto the shoulder. Valtierrea overcorrected, sending the SUV across the highway into the center barrier wall before the vehicle crossed both lanes of traffic and went into a ditch.

Both Valtierrea and a young passenger were checked at the scene by EMS crews. Neither were taken to a hospital afterward.

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