‘He was the best person’
Student dies in Mo. highway accident
Kelsea Renz | reporter
Kaylene Wray says she doesn’t remember the accident that seriously injured her and killed her close friend, Nicholas Chase.
“We were headed to the house of Caleb (Neely)’s parents,” said Wray, former student in early childhood development. “It’s kind of a messed-up situation, but it was just an accident; nothing really you can do about it now.”
She says that she is still devastated by Chase’s death.
“He was the best person. He cared about everyone so much, even more than himself,” she said in a telephone interview from Freeman West Hospital in Joplin, Mo.
Chase, 22, a senior in automotive technology, died in the wreck at the intersection of Missouri highways 126 and 43, about 10 miles south of Lamar, Mo., in Barton County.
He was pronounced dead at the scene after a 1994 Ford F-150 struck the 2005 Chevrolet Impala in which he was a passenger at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.
Wray was seriously injured with a ruptured spleen, a broken hip and several broken ribs.
She says she has been told that she will be in the hospital until at least Monday, Sept. 23, and will return to her Olathe home for two months of physical therapy.
Two deaths, several injuries
Crystal L. Carter, 30, of Lamar, the driver of the F-150, later died of her injuries on Monday, Sept. 16, at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Mo.
The F-150’s lone passenger, Hiram C. Ruth, also of Lamar, was life-flighted to Freeman West with serious injuries.
Additional Impala passengers Tracy L. Morgan of Argonia and Devin H. Walter of Topeka were taken to Freeman West Hospital, with serious injuries.
The Impala was driven by Caleb C. Neely, of Dadeville, Mo. Neely is a former student, but has not been enrolled for several years, says Debbie Greve, university registrar.
Accident and damage
Both vehicles were totaled in the accident.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Impala failed to stop at a stop sign and was struck on the passenger side at high speed.
Both vehicles were thrown off of the road, and the F-150 turned over.
All of the survivors were reportedly wearing seatbelts. Chase was not.
Steve Scott, university president, offered his condolences for the Chase family and the victims.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved in Saturday’s accident,” he said. “I extend my deepest sympathies to Nick’s family and friends and offer condolences on behalf of the entire Pittsburg State University community.”
Bruce Dallman, dean of technology, also expressed his sympathies.
“My heart goes out to his family and friends,” he said. “We’re sending flowers for the family to let them know of the concern we have for them.”
Chase’s funeral was held on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Olathe.
“I saw him ready to get out and make an impact on the automotive industry,” said Trent Lindbloom, assistant professor of automotive technology. “I want to remember him the way I remember him in class.”