Accident victims remain in serious condition

By Jimmy Potts & Josh Vail
Chanute Tribune – December 28, 2013

neosho co fire 12282013

Two men remain in serious condition at Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Mo., following a two-car accident on K-59 Thursday afternoon.

Lloyd E. Hazen, 56, of Erie and Brandon Mistler, 17, of Wichita remain in serious condition after their vehicle collided with Neosho County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Tracey Henderson, 47, of Erie.

Mistler and Hazen were flown from the scene to Freeman Hospital in Joplin. According to a report from the Kansas Highway Patrol, the vehicle driven by Mistler collided with Henderson after attempting to cross K-59 while traveling westbound on K-146 (Shaw Road).

Patrolmen noted in the report that they do not believe Mistler and Hazen were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident.

Henderson walked away from the accident with no injuries, but his fellow deputies took him to Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center as a precaution.

During Friday’s Neosho County Commission meeting, Sheriff Jim Keath said the accident Thursday exacerbated his department’s need for new patrol vehicles.

“We discussed a couple of weeks ago about going out for bids for a vehicle,” Keath said. “I requested them to bid something that was in stock, on the lot and ready for immediate delivery. I’m kind of glad I did.”

Keath presented commissioners with three bids: $28,070 for a 2013 Ford F-150 from Merle Kelly Ford (the lowest bid); $29,929 for a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado from Ranz Motor Co.; and $31,651 for a 2014 RAM 1500 Big Horn from Shields Motor Co. Commissioners approved the lowest bid. Although the 2008 patrol vehicle was totaled in Thursday’s accident, the truck purchased Friday will replace a 2007 pickup that will go to the county road and bridge department.

“The vehicle that this was going to replace, a 2007 (truck) with 169,000 miles on it, will go to the [road and bridge department],” Keath said. “The one we had in the accident had 107,000 miles. I still have one 2007 (truck) that is pushing 155,000 miles. We are going to have to do something about the 2008 (truck) that was in the accident. If we could figure something out with that other 2007 (truck) and move it on, then next year we would be to the point that we could move the 2008s into the [road and bridge department].”

Keath said purchasing patrol trucks instead of patrol cars makes more sense because patrol trucks have a longer lifespan, seven years as opposed to an expected four years with Ford Crown Victorias, and they have more versatility because his department can move the trucks to another department once they begin having mechanical issues due to their high mileage.

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