One killed in accident at College Blvd., US 69. Overland Park police say suspect ran

Raw video: Fatal accident shuts down College Boulevard in Overland Park

Overland Park police responded to a fatal accident at College Boulevard and U.S. 69 that closed the area to traffic on Friday.
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Overland Park police responded to a fatal accident at College Boulevard and U.S. 69 that closed the area to traffic on Friday.

A driver was killed Friday morning when he was ejected from his pickup on College Boulevard after being struck by another vehicle that veered off U.S. 69 in Overland Park.

Overland Park police spokesman John Lacy said a vehicle traveling north on U.S. 69 left the roadway about 11 a.m., went down an embankment and struck the top of the Toyota pickup heading east on College Boulevard. The driver of the pickup, a 20-year-old man, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.

“The suspect’s vehicle came to a stop on the other side of College Boulevard, on the north side,” Lacy said. “The suspect then left the area on foot. We were able to apprehend him near the trail right behind the Double Tree Hotel. We don’t know if he’s intoxicated. They will do a blood test on him, but right now he’s in custody because he left the scene of an accident.”

Police shut down both eastbound and westbound lanes of College Boulevard at U.S. 69 while they investigated the crash.

Lacy said it wasn’t immediately clear why the suspect’s vehicle left the highway.

“We’re not sure at this time,” he said. “It’s still very early in the investigation. All we know right now is that we have one male ... that is deceased. We’re trying to notify the family.”

Police said there were no passengers in either vehicle.

Ben McCarthy was heading east on College Boulevard just before the U.S. 69 overpass when he witnessed the crash.

“It happened in front of me,” said McCarthy, of Mission. “I glanced down and glanced back up and I saw a flash. I saw one car come down off 69 — it was like it fell off the road — and the other car was on College. Next thing I know, the first vehicle was upside-down and spinning on its head.”

McCarthy said he saw the man police called a suspect crawl out of the vehicle.

“And I was like, ‘Oh, good, he survived,’” he said. “Then he goes back in like he’s trying to extract somebody else, but then he doesn’t come out with anything. Then he kind of wanders off to the side of the highway, and some other people get out of their cars to see if he’s OK.

“I didn’t expect to see him emerge from that car, given the impact. He seemed shaken up. He looked like he was staggering and out of it. In shock.”

The victim’s Toyota pickup, McCarthy said, continued to roll east on College after the impact.

“It just keeps moving forward, and it looks like the top has been ripped off like a tuna can — like a truck that’s too tall that goes under an overpass and gets the top peeled back,” he said. “It kept going, but I couldn’t see anyone in the car. Then the car just kind of gingerly rolls off into the grass.”

McCarthy said he didn’t see the suspect flee the scene. He said road conditions were normal at the time of the crash.

“There was not heavy traffic,” he said. “There was no ice or snow on the road; visibility was good.”

McCarthy, who was on his way to an early lunch and listening to the radio when the crash occurred, said the scene was shocking. And sobering.

“Thirty seconds more,” he said, “and it could have been me.”

Judy L. Thomas joined The Star in 1995 and is a member of the investigative team, focusing on watchdog journalism. Over three decades, the Kansas native has covered domestic terrorism, extremist groups and clergy sex abuse. Her stories on Kansas secrecy and religion have been nationally recognized.