Junction City woman killed when car rear-ends out-of-fuel vehicle on I-70 near Paxico

By Katie Moore
Topeka Capital Journal - March 27, 2017


A woman was killed and three people injured Sunday evening when a car slammed into the rear of another car that had run out of gasoline and was stopped partially in the roadway on Interstate 70, about 19 miles west of Topeka in Wabaunsee County, authorities said.

The accident killed Tammy J. Patterson, 41, of Junction City, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol accident report.

The report indicated two men and two women were taken by ambulance to Topeka’s Stormont-Vail Regional HealthCare: Michael W. Smothers, 40, of Junction City; Virgil L. Koppenheffer, 36, and Keturah P. Anderson, 32, both of Moulton, Ala.; and Madison C. Connally, 23, of Ellsworth.

The accident occurred at 7:35 p.m. at I-70 mile marker 336.2, two miles east of Paxico, the accident report said.

It said Connally was alone driving a 2013 Toyota Prius eastbound on I-70 when it struck the rear of a 1999 Chevy Cavalier driven by Virgil Koppenheffer, which had run out of fuel and was stopped partially in eastbound I-70’s left lane with one occupant — Smothers — outside trying to push the car out of the roadway.

Connally was wearing a seat belt while the Koppenheffers and Anderson were not, the accident report said.

Eastbound traffic on I-70, just west of the Paxico rest area, was detoured from 8:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. Sunday, according to Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls.