Bronson man dies in wreck

Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
With an Allen County Sheriff’s Department vehicle in the background, crews were called to a fatality accident east of LaHarpe early this morning. Killed in the accident was Jason Lewis, 32, Bronson.

LAHARPE — Jason D. Lewis, 32, Bronson, was killed early this morning following a traffic accident east of LaHarpe.
According to the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, Lewis was driving a pickup along Nebraska Road around midnight, about 11⁄4 miles east of LaHarpe, when the pickup left the roadway. The truck rolled, crossed the south ditch and came to rest on its wheels.
Lewis, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle, Deputy Daren Kellerman said.
The accident set off a bizarre chain of events that may lead to criminal charges, Sheriff Tom Williams said.
“Before, during and after the accident, there wasn’t a whole lot that the parties did right,” Williams said, adding that alcohol was a likely factor in the wreck.
Rather than alert authorities about the accident, two passengers in the pickup, Tammy Ulery, 36, Gas, and Nicholas Wynn, 32, Bronson, instead notified Mike Folk, who raced from his home at the southeast edge of Iola to the accident scene.
He then loaded Lewis, Ulery and Wynn into his vehicle to take them to the hospital. But for some unknown reason, Folk dropped off Ulery along U.S. 54 in Gas, so she could instead go to a friend’s house — even though she, too, was injured, Deputy Daren Kellerman said.
“Mr. Folk then continued, at a high rate of speed, to the hospital,” Williams said.
Folk arrived with Wynn and Lewis at ACH minutes later. Authorities suspect Lewis was dead by the time he arrived at the hospital.
Hospital staff notified Iola police, who in short order contacted the Sheriff’s Department about the accident.
Problem was, both Folk and Wynn gave unclear directions to the accident site. The pair also indicated there was another passenger who was injured — “They even mentioned a child at one point,” Kellerman said — which added another layer of urgency.
Emergency personnel from across the county scoured the area until the truck was found, about a mile east of where it was reported. Crews quickly discovered there were no other occupants.
Both Wynn and Ulery suffered non-life threatening injuries, Kellerman said. Ulery’s were serious enough, however, that an ambulance was summoned to transport her to ACH after officers located her at the residence in Gas.
Both Ulery and Wynn were treated and released.
Lewis’ body was taken to Topeka for an autopsy so authorities could determine the cause of death.

“I CAN’T THINK of a valid explanation of why you would call a private citizen to an accident like this instead of law enforcement or emergency responders,” Williams said. “This is beyond the pale.”
Williams said an investigation is continuing this morning. He will send the information to Allen County Attorney Jerry Hathaway to determine if criminal charges will be filed.