The wreck, which occurred at the intersection of Ninth and Cedar streets in Ottawa, was originally called in as a non-injury accident, Sgt. Doug Waterman, of the Ottawa Police Department, said. But it was quickly upgraded to an injury accident after a passenger in one of the vehicles was determined to need medical attention.
“It was dispatched as a non-injury accident, and then I talked to Nick [Robbins], the ambulance director, and he said that he and one of the other crew members ... drove on it, and that’s when we got notified that it was an injury wreck,” Waterman said at the scene. “Nobody knew it was an injury wreck until they showed up.”
The injured person was transported to Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, with unknown injuries, Waterman said. The other people involved in the wreck, including two other passengers, refused medical attention at the scene, Waterman said.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, a green van, driven by Henry Duerksen, 83, Broken Bow, Neb., was traveling eastbound on Ninth Street when it collided with a white passenger car, driven by Sylvia Starkey, 72, Ottawa, Waterman said. The impact forced the car, which was traveling southbound on Cedar Street, up on the curb near the stone pillars that serve as an entrance to Ottawa University’s campus.
“[The] van disobeyed the stop sign [and] struck the white vehicle,” the police sergeant said.
Both vehicles suffered extensive front-end damage and had to be towed from the scene. Waterman said the vehicles likely are totaled.
Monday’s observance of the Veterans Day holiday may have contributed to the relatively light traffic on what is normally a well-traveled roadway, Waterman said. Traffic was diverted around the wreck from Eighth to 10th streets on Cedar Street for about an hour as authorities investigated the scene. Ottawa University’s classes were not interrupted by the wreck.