Fatal accident occurs on 24/40 in construction zone
The wife of Leavenworth County Commissioner-elect John Flower died Thursday night in a construction zone traffic accident on U.S. Highway 24-40, east of Basehor.
Howard Dickinson, technical trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol, said Diana Marie Flower, 62, Bonner Springs, had died by the time officers arrived after the van she was driving west on U.S. 24-40 crossed into the eastbound lane and struck a grain truck head-on.
“She had been out shopping and was coming home and somehow got in the wrong lane, and they collided,” John Flower said in his home early Friday afternoon.
The Highway Patrol reported the accident occurred at 8:21 p.m. Thursday in a construction zone just west of 142nd Street.
The driver of the truck, Danny E. Hall, 51, LaPlata, Mo., suffered unspecified injuries but was not taken to a hospital.
Dickinson said both vehicles were traveling about 45 miles per hour when the accident occurred.
“(Hall) was attempting to evade her, but he had nowhere to go,” Dickinson said. “There was a tremendous amount of damage done to both vehicles.”
Dickinson said Hall was wearing his seatbelt, and Flower, who was paralyzed from the chest down because she had multiple sclerosis, was restrained in the handicapped-equipped van.
John Flower was with his family at his home Friday.
He said Diana’s disability never seemed to slow her down.
“She was an excellent driver with her hands,” he said. “She did anything she wanted and went wherever she wanted to go.”
John Flower said his wife’s death came just months after his son-in-law died in a climbing accident in Colorado and just days before the couple would have celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary on Dec. 20.
“She was a strong, compassionate and loving woman,” John Flower said about Diana. “The only thing she ever wanted was to be good to her kids and her husband.“
Construction to replace the bridge on Kansas Highway 7 and U.S. 24-40, as well as new interchanges for the intersection began in March.
Dickinson said there had not been many accidents reported along the stretch of highway where Thursday’s mishap occurred and to his knowledge, this was the only fatality.