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Daughters file suit over fiery crash

Staff writer

The daughters of a woman killed Feb. 26 in a fiery crash on US-56 filed a wrongful death suit Thursday against the estate of the driver of the van that allegedly caused the wreck.

Nathan D. Puett, 30, Salina, was eastbound when his 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan veered across the center line and crashed head-on into a westbound 2000 Ford F-150 driven by James L. Potter, 70, of Emporia. The Ford caught fire.

Potter’s wife, Jody, was a passenger. They were traveling to Abilene Greyhound Park, pulling a trailer with up to 20 greyhounds.

Puett and both of the Potters died at the scene.

Puett’s children, Aspyn J. Goldsberry, and Jensen D. Tomkinson, 3, both of Salina, were passengers in the Dodge. They were pulled from the Dodge by witnesses and taken by ambulance to Wesley Medical Center, Wichita.

The petition filed in court claims Puett was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and failed to drive carefully, honk his horn, keep a careful lookout, and drive within the range of his vision.

A petition claims Jim Potter died from head and heart injuries.

It also claims Jody Potter was alive and screaming for help as the vehicle burned. The Ford exploded before witnesses could open the door and pull her out.

The petition claims autopsy results support the daughters’ contention that Jody Potter lived long enough to suffer. Soot was found in her lungs and throat, indicating she breathed in smoke before the Ford exploded.

The daughters seek more than $75,000 for wrongful death, mental anguish, bereavement, and loss of past and future financial assistance and support, companionship, aid, comfort, protection, guidance, instruction, parental care, attention, advice, counsel, and aid and assistance.

Two of the greyhounds in the trailer were discovered dead at the scene. A third was badly injured and euthanized on site. The others escaped onto surrounding farmland.

Jim Gartland, executive director of the National Greyhound Association, said most of the remaining dogs eventually were located and adopted out. Some were kept by the family.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2021

 

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