Hours before a Kansas teenager drove the wrong way on a divided highway, crashed into an oncoming car and killed him along with two women, the boy told deputies he had taken the hallucinogenic drug LSD, Butler County Sheriff Kelley Herzet said.
Deputies didn’t have grounds to arrest 16-year-old Dominic Stolfi when they responded to a disturbance call at a residence near Benton at 2:40 a.m. Sunday and learned the boy and his 16-year-old friend had taken the drug, Herzet told The Wichita Eagle.
Deputies found the unnamed friend repeating that he was “freaking out on acid” and thought he was going to die, the sheriff said. In contrast, Dominic was found sitting in the basement in his underwear with a blanket wrapped around his upper chest and head, Herzet said.
The friend was taken by ambulance to an Andover hospital, while Dominic’s father came and took his son home.
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Eric Stolfi, Dominic’s father, said he wanted his son to ride in the ambulance with the other boy, Dominic’s best friend, but a deputy said the two couldn’t ride together.
Stolfi said when he first got a call about his son, he told the deputy “send him by EMS.” He said the deputy told him “your son is calm. I don’t think he’s taken as much (drug). I’m going to release him to your custody.”
Stolfi, who owns a business that installs underground shelters in garages, said he took his son home, where the boy took a shower and got something to eat and water to drink.
Stolfi said he made sure his son was in bed and he hid all of the keys. The boy was asleep at 5 a.m., about an hour before the collision, he said.
“Once he was sleeping, then I went and laid down,” Stolfi said. “I was truly trying to be a father to my son. I was trying to protect him.”
The father said he woke up to a banging sound and discovered his son had found a set of keys, opened the garage door and drove off after crashing into the house and a trailer. Dominic didn’t make it very far down Kansas 254 before colliding head-on with a car carrying two Potwin women, Lisa Hardy and Nancy Ross.
The collision happened around 6 a.m. near the Butler County-Sedgwick County line, about half a mile into Sedgwick County.
Dominic’s Ford Explorer struck a black Buick Lucerne driven by Hardy on the highway’s shoulder, where the Buick had veered to try to avoid the SUV, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.
Both vehicles were traveling at “no less than highway speed,” said Master Trooper David Monckton, who is leading the Highway Patrol’s investigation. The speed limit on that portion of K-254 is 70 mph.
Dominic, Hardy, 27, and Ross, 52, died at the scene.