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Distracted driving fatality Friday in northern Barton County
Kansas Highway Patrol

HOISINGTON — An elderly California woman sustained a fatal injury Friday evening in an accident the Kansas Highway Patrol attributed to distracted driving.

The KHP reports the accident occurred at  5:21 p.m. Friday, about 1.5 miles northwest of Hoisington on US 281.  

Lee Depperschmidt, 84, of Rush Center, driving a 1999 Buick Lesabre, was stopped on US 281 facing east, waiting to make a left turn into a private driveway. Ashley Bowles, 25, of Great Bend, driving a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500, was eastbound following Depperschmidt when she was distracted by a cellphone and rear-ended Depperschmidt. 

His Buick Lesabre spun out and landed in the front yard of a residence on 158 West Hwy 4. Bowles’s Dodge Ram entered the north ditch and came to rest in a wheat field. 

Depperschmidt was transported to St. Francis Hospital with a suspected serious injury.  His passenger, Ida John, 78 of Lincoln, California, was transported to Clara Barton Hospital, but her injury was fatal, and she died at 6:15 p.m.  Next of kin have been notified. Both Depperschmidt and John were wearing safety restraints. 

Bowles sustained no apparent injuries.  She was also wearing a safety restraint.