Weekend wreck closes section of Highway 69 for over four hours

Staff Reports

PITTSBURG, Kan. — On Saturday, May 1 at roughly 9 p.m. a vehicle traveling northbound on Highway 69 near the Bourbon County/Crawford County line struck a car heading southbound, according to a report from the Kansas Highway Patrol.  

Driving a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, John Murphy, 57 of Joplin, crossed the middle line of the highway and struck a Freightliner truck towing a 2007 CIMC trailer. The truck was driven by Martin Richards, 59 of Benton, Arkansas. Richards had no apparent injuries.  

Murphy had three other passengers in his car including Irene Burton, 33, of Fort Scott, and two children under the age of 5, according to the KHP. Murphy and Burton were the only two involved injured in the crash, and notably were also the only two not wearing seatbelts according to the report. Murphy and Burton were transported to Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg for treatment of serious and minor injuries, respectively. 

Both children, who were restrained in car seats at the time of the crash according to the report, appeared to have no injuries but were also transported to the hospital.  

The wreck caused Highway 69 to close until 1 a.m., according to a Facebook post from the Crawford County Sheriff's Office.  

Earlier Saturday there was another wreck in northern Crawford County shortly before noon resulting in suspected serious injuries. 30-year-old Kayla Sizemore of Mulberry reportedly was traveling west on 710th Ave about 3.5 miles east of Highway 69 when she entered a ditch. After getting out of the ditch, she drove into the ditch on the other side of the road and hit a tree, according to the KHP. Sizemore was transported to Freeman Hospital in Joplin with suspected serious injuries.