A collision sent a man riding a motorcycle into a ditch off of US-59 Highway southwest of Atchison at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, leaving his bike in a ruin and prompting authorities to evacuate him by medical helicopter.
The incident, also involving a blue 2018 Ford Focus, backed up traffic on highway 59 until about 8:30 p.m. Investigators then re-opened the highway and normal traffic flow resumed.
Sheriff Jack Laurie said in a news release the crash happened as a consequence of the man, identified as Clay Biester, 58, of Valley Falls, attempting to overtake the Focus, driven by Allison Herbig, 18, of Atchison. Simultaneously, Herbig attempted to turn left onto 254th Road, Laurie said, causing the motorcycle to crash into the driver's side of her car.
The car came to rest on 254th Road and had to be towed from the scene. The impact sent the motorcycle into a ditch on US-59's southern side before crews pulled out with a chain and onto a tow truck for removal.
Laurie said Biester suffered severe injuries before transport by Life Star of Kansas to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. The hospital had no information on Biester's condition as of Wednesday morning.
The incident follows two fatal wrecks in June in the same area of US-59 Highway. County authorities said at the time that such incidents aren't unheard of on the road.
"We have worked multiple, multiple, multiple accidents on that road," said Wes Lanter, Atchison County director of emergency management, in a June interview. He added that the county government has no jurisdiction on U.S. 59 for improving safety conditions, a responsibility of the Kansas Department of Transportation.
"Lots of injuries and fatalities. It is just a winding stretch of highway," he added. "With deer, traffic and other hazards, if you're not careful, these things can happen."
Anyone with information on Tuesday's collision may call the Atchison County Joint Communication Center at 913-367-4323 at all hours of the day. Dial 911 for emergencies.