Car crash victim remembered in memorial service
More than 100 classmates and faculty at Saint Mary's College in Leavenworth came together on Tuesday, Sept. 4 to remember a student who was killed in a car accident in May outside Basehor.
On Tuesday, May 6, Katherine Mika, 19, was driving her 1988 Ford Taurus east on Kansas Highway 24/40 when her vehicle was struck by a school bus at the intersection of 24/40 and County Road 2.
The ceremony on Tuesday afternoon was in honor of Mika, a former student and Lawrence resident. During the ceremony, a flowering cherry tree was planted in front of a fountain on campus in her honor.
Saint Mary's College director of campus ministry Dave Armstrong said the ceremony was planned so students and faculty would get a chance to say a final goodbye to Mika.
"She died the same week as finals," Armstrong said. "People were able to go to the funeral, but after that people parted ways (for the summer). The service was for some healing."
The faculty at Saint Mary's raised the funds for the tree planting. Campus officials said any funds leftover would go to a Katherine Mika Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Armstrong said Mika had been involved in several campus ministry activities during her short tenure at the school and was also a talented singer.
"She was definitely one of our more talented singers," Armstrong said. "She had an incredible voice. We are going to miss her."
Mika's parents attended the ceremony. Before going to the ceremony, both parents stopped by the area at the corner of County Road 2 and 24/40 where the accident took place.
The parents spread wild flowers over the area before leaving for the ceremony.
Basehor resident Nina Kreutzer, 68, was the driver of the bus that struck Mika's vehicle.
Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department deputies said the bus was attempting to turn south onto County Road 2 when it struck the driver's side door of Mika's car.
No passengers were in the school bus at the time of the accident and Kreutzer was not injured in the crash.
The Sheriff's Department has completed an investigation into the crash and according to investigating officer Fred Grenier, the case has been turned over to the county attorney's office.
"It is my understanding they will not pursue anything in vehicular homicide but there may be a traffic violation," Grenier said.