Tragedy narrowly averted in 13th Street accident
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Sgt. Dan Koerner of the Hays Police Department said a possible tragedy was averted Tuesday evening when a Hays man lost control of his vehicle at a busy intersection in Hays and hit a light pole — but avoided hitting a family's car in the process.
Andrew Leiker, 23, was traveling south on Vine Street at about 8 p.m. and was making a left-hand turn, east onto 13th Street, when his 2003 GMC Sierra pickup jumped the curb and hit the light pole on the north side of Burger King, located on the southeast corner of 13th and Vine.
The pole snapped in two and fell onto the hood of the pickup.
William Sennett, manager of Burger King, was working at the drive-up window on the north side of the restaurant when he said he heard a "squeal and a pop."
"I looked up, and the pickup jumped the curb and was coming right at a car that was in the drive-up lane," Sennett said. "I don't know how (Leiker) got (his truck) turned that fast. He hit the pole, but he didn't hit the car with a family in it."
Koerner said Leiker was traveling too fast for making the 90-degree turn and was ticketed for reckless driving but that "it could have been a lot worse."
Leiker was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.
"It could have been really tragic, had he hit that car, or the (Burger King) building," Koerner said.
"And he was lucky it was that solid of a vehicle he was driving," he added.
The Burger King drive-up lane was blocked for about 30 minutes while police worked the accident and removed debris from the pavement.