By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
The investigator of what was initially ruled a hit and run fatality Saturday in east Liberal has provided more information on the accident that killed two pedestrians.
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Don Leatherman said the vehicle versus pedestrian incident was never a hit and run, and neither of the two pedestrians have been identified at this time.
“Only one of the two victims’ families have been notified,” he said. “We’re dealing with the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. We can’t give any names out yet, but in all reality, the striking vehicle was there at the scene. It was not a hit and run.”
Leatherman said the driver of the 2004 Chevy pickup that allegedly ran over the pedestrians did not show signs of alcohol use, and he called the entire situation simply “an unfortunate accident.”
“The two victims were either laying, kneeling, bent over, something in the road,” he said.
Leatherman said prior to his arrival, other law enforcement were on the scene, and from what they had observed, the fatality was initially labeled a hit and run.
“When I got there, they didn’t even think the pickup was involved,” he said.
Leatherman said other people were in the area of the scene of the accident witnessed the fatality, and the law enforcement who first arrived thought the people in the pickup were likewise witnesses.
“When I examined the vehicle, it had the damage on the front to match up,” he said.
Leatherman said investigation of the accident should be nearing completion. A forensics examination of the pickup was scheduled to take place this morning and finish by this afternoon,
The KHP trooper said other investigators typically will go through a vehicle involved in a fatality such as this with a “fine tooth comb,” and he added he has spoken to local coroner Dr. Hubert Peterson, whom he said was in full agreement with his assessment of the situation.