A 26-year-old woman died and a 30-year-old man was seriously injured Wednesday night, after a car went off the 100 block of NW 40 Ave. in Barton County and hit a tree. The driver, who is suspected of driving under the influence of a controlled substance, fled the scene but later turned himself in, the Barton County Sheriff’s Office reports.
Great Bend Fire Department ambulance was first on the scene after Joni D. Margheim, 30, went to a nearby farmhouse and called 911, around 10:15 p.m.
Casey Ann Goodwin, 26, of Great Bend was taken to Great Bend Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was a passenger in the back seat of the vehicle, where the car struck the tree.
The passenger who was eventually flown to Wichita is Jeff Chapman, 30, of Pawnee Rock. He was first taken to Central Kansas Medical Center in serious condition. A spokesman for Via Christi’s St. Francis Hospital in Wichita said Thursday he remained in serious condition.
The alleged driver was later identified at Lee Brett Jacobs, 30, of Great Bend. His front-seat passenger, Margheim, initially claimed she was the one driving. After that was found to be untrue, she was arrested and charged with providing false information for an accident report, according to information from the BCSO.
When responders arrived at the scene, Jacobs had fled and at least one person was still in the vehicle, a white Pontiac Grad Prix. Investigation indicated Jacobs was driving north on the rural gravel road when he lost control of the vehicle and it slid into the tree. Evidence found in the car suggested drugs and alcohol may have been involved, BCSO Detective Rick Popp said, adding the investigation was continuing.
Jacobs walked into the Barton County Jail lobby around 3:20 a.m. Thursday and turned himself in. He was arrested on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, with bond set at $50,000.