Sheriff advises drivers use caution on gravel roads after 2 weekend crashes


October 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer is asking for motorists to be extremely cautious when traveling the roads, especially the gravel and dirt roads due to the dusty conditions, and for slow moving,  and sometimes over-sized vehicles used during this harvest season.  The advice follows two separate accidents that happened over the weekend, during which four people were injured. Palmer says the dust from the roads and harvest equipment can make it extremely hard to see traffic in any direction at times, especially during dusk and at night.

Palmer says the first accident happened Saturday,when 49-year old Kimberly Walker, of Essex, lost control of her vehicle about four-miles northwest of Red Oak. The Sheriff says Walker was traveling east on 150th Street at around 10:15-a.m., when, as she rounded a curve and started down a hill, she came upon a large cloud of dust. Walker came up on a grain wagon being pulled by a tractor, and was unable to stop in time. Her 2011 Chevy Suburban hit the back of the trailer, but the driver of the 1992 John Deere tractor, 50-year old Harve Johnson, of Essex never felt the impact, and continued on, to Essex. Walker, and her six- and four-year old grandsons, Jacob and Caden Robinette, of Essex, were not injured. Her suburban sustained $60,000 damage, and was considered a total loss. No Citations were issued.

The second accident in Page County, happened at around 12:30-a.m. Sunday, near Clarinda, when 16-year old Joshua Sickels, of Clarinda, lost control of the SUV he was driving. Sheriff Palmer says Sickels was traveling westbound on 200th Street when he looked over to the passengers and failed to keep his eyes on the road. The 2003 Chevy Suburban he was driving came to rest against some trees, on the south side of 200th Street in the 2700 block.

Sickels, who was wearing his seatbelt, was not hurt. Four passengers in the vehicle, 15-year olds Natalie Donahue, Halle Goude, and Christie Ross, along with 16-year old Samantha Swanson, all of Clarinda, suffered possible, unknown injuries. They were transported by Clarinda EMS to the Clarinda Regional Hospital. Deputies were not immediately able to determine if the teens were wearing their seatbelts.

Sickels was cited for Failure to Maintain Control. The SUV sustained $12,000 damage, and was considered a total loss.