Randy E. Beery, 36, president of the board of education of the Turner School District and a major with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department, was killed late Friday when his car veered from the road and hit a tree in Kansas City, Kan.
“He was a great leader,” Turner board member Sherrie Watkins-Alvey said Saturday. “It is a real tragedy for our district and for his family.”
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol report, the accident occurred about 10:45 p.m. Beery and a passenger, 26-year-old Katrina Kobe, were driving south on Shawnee Drive, north of County Line Road, when Beery lost control of the 2006 Crown Victoria on packed snow.
The car, which belonged to the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, slid from the right lane of the road, spun and with great force struck a tree on the driver’s side of the car, said Highway Patrol investigating officer Lt. Ian Ingram.
The car came to rest in the front yard of a home at 5000 Shawnee Drive.
Beery died at the scene. Kobe, also of Kansas City, Kan., suffered serious injuries, Ingram said, and was taken to the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Neither of the occupants was wearing a seatbelt, although Ingram said the direction and force of the impact on Beery’s side of the car was such that a seat belt would unlikely have aided him.
Beery was not on duty at the time, the officer said.
“I can tell you that that on that stretch of road, the road was dry and clear of snow up to the crest of a hill, where all of a sudden it was snowpacked and probably caught him off guard,” Ingram said.
Wyandotte County sheriff’s spokeswoman Lt. Kelli Bailiff said the department has suffered a great loss.
“We’ve lost a member of our family,” she said.
Bailiff said Beery was a member of the department for about 12 years, was married and has four children. His mother, Joy Beery, is also a member of the Turner School District school board. Beery’s brother, Robert, is a detention deputy with the sheriff’s department and his father is a retired firefighter.
The Turner School District released a statement:
“It is with deep sorrow and condolences to his family and friends that the Turner School District announces the tragic passing of its Board President, Randy Beery. Randy was killed in a one-car accident in Wyandotte County around 10:45 last night, Dec. 21, 2012. At this time, few details are available to us. Randy was not only a valuable contributor to the school district, but an active participant in all Turner community affairs. He will be deeply missed.”