Grady Walker

E1900_Walker_TurtleA photo from the scene of the accident on E 1900 Road Thursday evening (photo courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World)

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Former Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker’s daughter remains in critical condition in ICU at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

Mersadie L. Walker, 17, was hit by a passing vehicle while attempting to help a turtle off the road in rural Douglas County Thursday evening.  According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the accident occurred around 5:30 PM in the 900 block of East 1900 Road.

Walker was struck by a  2014 Chevy Cruze  traveling southbound. The driver was identified as Elisabeth L. Mason, 36, of Lawrence.  Law enforcement officials stated that  Mason was driving with a suspended license and that her plates were not assigned to the vehicle she drove.  Mason was arrested at the time of the accident and booked on suspicion of driving while suspended and failure to provide proof of liability insurance.

Mason is currently free on bond and a court appearance set for July 3.

On Friday Walker’s parents released a statement.

“She was doing something children often do — being kind and compassionate to an animal, which is her nature. She remains in critical condition in ICU at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, but we are grateful that she is continuing to improve,” the statement read.

“We would like to sincerely thank our friends, family and the community for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. We feel your prayers and support and could not get through this without you all.”

Grady Walker served as Eudora Police Chief from 2010 until his resignation in August 2012.

Share

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com 

Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker resigned his position with the Eudora Police Department on Thursday. Walker’s last day will be Friday Sept. 7.

In an exclusive interview with Eudorareporter.com, Walker would not answer specifics a as to why he resigned from the department.

“I left for personal reasons, and I’d like to leave it at that,” Walker said.  Walker did state that he does not have a position with any other jurisdiction at this time.

“I plan on taking time to heal from my injury and then see where life is going to take me,” Walker told us.

Walker was recently injured in a fall at the Police Department. Walker is currently on medical leave but will be returning to work next week for the transition period.

City officials would not make any comment in depth about the situation other than to state the the fact that Walker had resigned, citing that they cannot speak about personnel matters.  City Administrator John Harrenstein told our partner publication The Lawrence Journal World, that Police Sgt. Chris Casagrande has been named acting police chief until an interim chief is named.

 

 

 

Share

 

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

One of the most discussed topics around town over the last couple of months has been the possibility of removing the School Resource Officer position in the Cities Police Department.

The City of Eudora had planned to eliminate the position and use the officer currently assigned to the SRO position for other needs and patrols in the city.  At the July 30 City Council meeting, the Council had been presented a letter that was scheduled to be sent to the School District to inform the District that Police Department would be pulling the officer and reassigning him in the Police Department. The Council voiced some strong objections to pulling the officer at that meeting.

While the Council did not offer a resolution or make any vote that would prohibit this action from being taken, the objections of the Council were noted by City officials and the decision was made to keep the SRO position for the current school year.  The city will also continue to pay the entire cost of the SRO position for this school year. Officials have indicated that they intend to ask the School District to help share with the cost of the SRO starting in 2013-2014 academic year.  The SRO position was initially funded by a grant the city received in 2002.  When the grant expired in 2004, the city continued to pay for the position in its entirety.

At this month’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Don Grosdidier mentioned this possible request by the city to share in the cost of having an officer in the schools during the school year.

“You can make a request that asks the School District to pay for it (referring to the SRO position), but I said I can tell you that we’ve cut teaching staff, administrative staff, we don’t have as many school nurses as we would like to have in our buildings and in terms of priority, I’m not sure the School Resource Officer would be a position that would be a higher priority.”

Grosdidier did say that while School District officials are in favor of the SRO position, they are cognizant that it is entirely paid for by the city and they put no pressure on the city to continue the position.

According to Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker, the officer who has served in the SRO position in recent years will be assigned to full time activities in the Police Department and the Police Department will begin seeking applications for a new SRO Officer.  Both Walker and Grosdidier acknowledged that due to limited staffing in the Police Department since the beginning of 2012, the SRO officer was used more for city police activities than he was in the schools during this year.

Walker also reiterated his statement from earlier in the summer that the DARE program will continue in the school district uninterrupted and that the DARE program was never in danger of being eliminated.

Share

Eudora News and Information  – www.eudorareporter.com

Note:  Andy Hyland, Jonathan Kealing and Joe Preiner from the Lawrence Journal World contributed to this report.

An accident on K-10 highway just west of the Church Street exit caused the highway to be shut down in both directions for over six hours Thursday.

The accident occurred around 4:00PM Thursday afternoon when a cement mixer blew a tire, causing the driver, identified as 44-year-old Tonganoxie resident Richard Vandruff, to lose control of the vehicle, according to a report from the KHP. Vandruff swerved onto the north shoulder of westbound K-10 before veering back across the lanes onto the median, where the vehicle then rolled before coming to rest on its side. Vandruff was trapped in his truck for more than 30 minutes while Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical tried to rescue him. He was taken by helicopter to KU Medical center for treatment.

Two other injury accidents had occurred in Douglas County at approximately the same time, complicating the rush hour commute. The Kansas Turnpike was shut down near the Lecompton exit because of an eastbound accident and there was an accident on US 24/40 at mile marker 397.

Traffic from K-10 was rerouted through Eudora causing long backups at all major intersections in the city.  During rush hour, drivers sat for periods as long as thirty minutes on County Road 442 heading east into Eudora while crews and law enforcement officials completed an accident reconstruction investigation and cleanup of the cement mixer.  An equally long backup westbound was caused by traffic being forced to exit at Church Street.

“It was the perfect storm,” Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker stated. “With the three accidents all working in Douglas County at the same time, everything converged on Eudora. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Walker added that he was happy that there were no secondary accidents with the increased volume of traffic through town.

“You can do all the planning in the world and then you have an event like this that no one could predict and you find out if your personnel and plans are ready,” Walker said. “Gratefully, we were ready.”

Crews from Kansas Highway patrol, Eudora and Lawrence, including a Hazmat team, worked the accident scene late into the night to remove the cement truck and handle fuel and cement spilled onto the highway.

Not something you see every day: K-10 in daylight hours with no cars on it.

Share

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

At a recent City Council meeting, the City of Eudora passed several ordinances dealing with a variety of topics including pets, personal behavior and a topic that has generated a great amount of interest: parking.  To read the original story you can click HERE.

Since our story hit the web site, the City of Eudora and the Eudora Police Department has been flooded with calls about the ordinances that deal with RV’s and parking in your yard.

According to Curt Bauman, the Planning and Codes Administrator for the City of Eudora, there have been some very pointed questions as to why the ordinances were passed and specific questions about the new laws.

“The reason the city passed the ordinances was because of aesthetics,” Bauman said.

To try to clear up some of the confusion over this issue, we wanted to give you the exact wording from the city code book. Ordinance 974 states:

No person shall park a vehicle off the street in the front or side yard setback area, which shall be defined as the area between the public right-of-way and the rear line of a building or any projection thereof, unless on parking or driveway surfaces required by the City Code. The City Council and/or the City Administrator may determine that the provisions of this Section are not to be enforced for a specified location or locations for a period no (sic) to exceed forty-eight hours.

According to Bauman, an “improved surface” can be gravel, asphalt or concrete.

“We want people to know that we don’t expect citizens to spends thousands of dollars laying concrete,” Bauman stated. “A gravel driveway counts as an improved surface.”

Eudora police, who will ultimately be responsible for enforcing this new ordinance, state that while officers will not be out patrolling specifically for this type of infraction, they will communicate with the home owner if they notice a problem or consistent non-compliance.

“Our goal is to have verbal communication with the citizens and help educate the public,” Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker told us. “I’ve told all my officers to not write any citations until October and in the mean time, try to work with the public and let them know this ordinance is now in effect.”

RV and trailer parking has also been a big issue of late. Ordinance 975 states:

No motorized self-propelled camper, non-motorized trailer, or boat or canoe, when on a trailer, shall be parked on a public street for a period of time exceeding 48 hours, and when so parked shall be located no nearer to an intersection than 100 feet, from the intersecting curb lines of the two streets nor located as to obscure any drivers view of approaching traffic.  No non-motorized travel trailer or boat or canoe, when on a trailer, shall be left unattached when parked on a public street.

Walker added that anyone that has specific questions about the ordinances can always call the Eudora Police Department or the cities Codes Department to get clarification on a specific point.

Share