ELLSWORTH COUNTY — Four people traveling in an SUV are dead because of a traffic accident on I-70 in Ellsworth County. But one lucky boy is clinging to life, thanks to a Good Samaritan.
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Gardner reports a black 2003 Cadillac Escalade drove into the back of a broken-down semi-tractor trailer that was parked safely on the shoulder of I-70. Gardner reports the semi driver was properly displaying his orange hazard triangles to indicate a disabled vehicle.
Gardner said Jonah Turner, 9, of Aurora, Colo., survived the crash and was removed from the vehicle by Topeka's Sean Petersen and Ellsworth's Mike Homeier, who was at a nearby property when he heard the noise from the accident.
“It’s remarkable that a child was rescued. A homeowner to the north ran over and was able to identify that a young person in the vehicle was alive,” Gardner said. “There was a person who had the ability to decisively take action and remove that child from a burning vehicle. He certainly is a hero.”
A video aired by KWCH-TV, made available by Amy Williams, shows the SUV catching on fire. A tractor-trailer in the passing lanes is viewed driving by the accident at a high speed with thick smoke emerging.
Williams told KWCH-TV that Homeier crossed four lanes of traffic and jumped a fence to provide assistance. Williams said another driver also pulled off the roadway to provide assistance. She said Homeier broke out the glass in the rear window and helped pull Jonah Turner to safety.
Jonah Turner was transported to Salina Regional Health Center in critical condition. Jonah Turner was later transported to a Wichita hospital, according to the highway patrol.
The Highway Patrol reports the accident victims resided in Aurora, Colo. The victims were Kevin Dorrell, 54; Debra Dorrell, 51; Justin Turner, 15; and Joe Turner, 11.
The truck driver, Girmay-Girmay Alemayehu, 48, Dallas, Texas, had his 2004 Freightliner break down on the interstate.
The eastbound lanes of I-70 were blocked until 2:45 p.m. Tuesday for the patrol’s Critical Accident Response Team to work the accident scene. Traffic was rerouted at K-14, mile marker 214.