Kansas county sees two fatal wrecks minutes apart on snowy morning

Two fatal wrecks were reported 11 minutes apart in Woodson County on Wednesday, with weather explicitly blamed for one.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol: 48-year-old Laura L. Hegwald was traveling south on U.S. 75, lost control of the 2007 Buick car she was driving and the car spun. The rear of the car hit head-on with a 2016 Dodge Ram driven northbound on the highway by a 38-year-old woman from Neodesha. Hegwald died; the other driver was not injured. The Highway Patrol was called at 7:44 a.m.

At 7:55 a.m., troopers responded to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 54. A 2008 Chevrolet van driven by a 52-year-old Iowa man was headed west on U.S. 54, “lost control due to weather” and struck an eastbound 2001 Dodge Ram driven by 58-year-old Robert E. Cochran of Yates Center. Cochran died. The Iowa man was taken to Stormont Vail Hospital with suspected serious injuries.

Woodson County was included in a National Weather Service winter weather advisory that predicted snow and rain during Wednesday’s morning commute.

Michael Stavola covers breaking news at The Wichita Eagle. He’s won a national and several state awards during his five years of working at newspapers in Kansas. He plans to finish his MBA at Wichita State University in spring 2020. Michael likes to exercise, hunt and spend time with his wife and their dog, Marley.