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Image by Benton crash photo by Wil Day
The Butler County Sheriff's Office is investigating two separate crashes that killed two people. The first occurred at 11:30 Thursday night south of Augusta on Highway 77 near SW 120th.
Sheriff Lt. Mike Holton said a passerby found a Ford Explorer on its top in a ditch. 38-year-old Charles White of Douglas was found dead outside the vehicle. The man's two daughters, two and three years old, were standing next to their father's body. They were taken to Wesley Medical Center in potentially serious condition. "According to a witness at the scene, both children crawled out of the vehicle," said Holton. "We don't have any idea why that vehicle left the roadway." It was northbound on U.S. 77.
Sheriff Kelly Herzet said one carseat was found in the Explorer. "The little girls should be okay," said Herzet. The father was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
At 1:30 Friday morning, a passerby spotted a wrecked car in the westbound lanes of K-254, just east of Benton. The driver of the small car, 18-year-old Austin Taylor of Valley Center, was pronounced dead at the scene.
"The car left the roadway and travelled a quarter of a mile in the ditch before the driver was able to get it back on the highway. That's when it rolled several times," said Herzet. The teen was ejected from the car and found on the highway by a motorist.
Lt. Holton said there were no witnesses to the crash so it is unclear how it may have happened.