Man, 72, killed in wrong-way, head-on crash on I-70

RILEY COUNTY — A 72-year-old Topeka man was killed late Thursday in a wrong-way, head-on crash in Riley County, authorities said.

The fatality victim was identified as Raymond E. Riis.

The crash was reported at 10:43 p.m. on Interstate 70, about a mile and a half west of the Wabaunsee-Riley county line.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol's online crash log, Riis was driving a 2011 Kia Soul east in the westbound passing lane when it came to the top of a hill and struck a 2020 International semi-trailer head-on.

Riis, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene, the patrol said.

The driver of the semi, Jerrod A. Burgardt, 30, of Wichita, was reported uninjured. The patrol said Burgardt was wearing a seat belt.

Both drivers were alone in their vehicles.

 

Homes evacuated after crews hit gas line

TOPEKA — Several homes in the city's Old Town neighborhood were evacuated Friday morning after city crews struck a gas line while working in the area, authorities said.

The incident was reported at 9:08 a.m. in the 800 block of S.W. Buchanan.

Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Stacy Howbert said at the scene that a backhoe working near the northeast corner of S.W. 9th and Buchanan hit the gas line.

The odor of the gas was present for more than a block away to the north and east as the breeze was blowing from the south.

Kansas Gas Service crews had been called to the scene to cap the gas line.

The Topeka Fire Department also had trucks at the scene.

S.W. Buchanan was closed to through traffic between 8th and 10th avenues as crews made repairs. There was no timetable for how long the street would be closed.

No injuries had been reported as of 10 a.m.