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Two injured in Larned semi Wednesday rollover crash
Loaded cattle trailer prompts multi-county assist
Larned semi rollover
Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office deputies were occupied Wednesday afternoon clearing this semi-trailer from U.S. 56 near Larned after it rolled onto its side close to the noon hour east of the junction of NW Trail and the U.S. 56 junction. Two persons were injured and transported to the hospital and approximately 10 cattle were killed in the crash. The roadway was blocked through Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy photo

LARNED — Two persons were injured and a number of cattle lost in a two-vehicle crash involving a van and loaded semi-trailer that rolled late Wednesday morning on U.S. 56 east of Larned.

Pawnee County Sheriff Scott King said the crash occurred at approximately 10:58 a.m. Wednesday at mile marker 184 just east of the Northwest Trail Street-U.S. 56 junction east of the Larned city limits. King noted that the semi’s trailer was loaded with approximately 50 head of cattle, which required a multi-agency effort to contain.

The crash narrative noted that a 2003 Honda Odyssey was being driven eastbound on U.S. 56 by Patrick Keith Lapointe, 37, Larned, who had pulled over and attempted to make a U-turn into the westbound lane. The westbound semi, a 2014 Peterbuilt driven by Perry William Wolschleger, 65, of Harbor Beach, Mich.,  then struck the van on the driver’s side front fender, sending it into the south ditch. 

Weight of the fully-loaded trailer caused the semi to roll onto its side, across both lanes of the roadway. Cattle were spilled out of the trailer’s rear door across the roadway, King noted. 

The van driver and an unnamed juvenile were transported to Pawnee Valley Community Hospital with crash-related serious injuries. Information on the juvenile was listed as protected data by the Kansas Highway Patrol. 

The semi driver was uninjured in the crash, King said. Safety restraints were worn by both drivers, the KHP reported.

The response

At that point, “everybody just jumped in to help,” King said. In addition to King and several deputies at the scene, both Dr. Michael Burdett and Dr. Kristi Mull of Larned Veterinary Services in Larned were dispatched to triage the cattle, with transport assistance coordinated by Innovative Livestock Services of Great Bend.

 “There was a whole little village helping at the scene,” King noted. The KHP and local Kansas Department of Transportation employees, as well as the Pawnee County Highway Department assisted with traffic control. Doonan Peterbuilt of Great Bend provided heavy equipment to assist with the semi’s removal and the van was collected by B&B Recycling and Wrecker Service of Larned. 

Local business assistance was provided by Bert and Wetta of Larned.

A motorist who attempted to drive through the crash scene was also stopped and cited by the PCSO, King noted. 

Mull reported Thursday morning that approximately 10 cattle were designated as lost in the crash. The remainder were transported to a holding pen at the ILS location in eastern Pawnee County.

“All of a sudden, there were a host of equipment, trucks, trailers and horses on the scene,” King said. “Once the issue of the cattle was taken care of, we could focus on clearing the scene.”

The scene was officially cleared at approximately 4 p.m.