BASEHOR, Kan. - Changes to a dangerous Basehor, Kansas intersection were only two weeks away when a second grade teacher from the Genesis Christian Academy in Tonganoxie died at the intersection.
The Kansas Department of Transportation says U.S 24/40 and 158th Street in Basehor has been the site of 11 serious crashes and three fatalities since 2006.
Teacher Ronda Andrews is the second person from the Genesis Academy family to die at the intersection.
Genesis Academy administrator Sharon Beeman will never forget the call she received Friday afternoon.
Ronda Andrews left the school in the morning to get a haircut. She never returned. Three hours later, Beeman’s phone rang.
"I was told Ronda had been killed in a car accident," Beeman said. "That was a tough call. Everybody knew Mrs. Andrews. She touched the lives of every child that attended this school."
A truck slammed into Andrews as she pulled her car onto U.S. 24/40 from a stop sign at 158th Street.
Andrews touched countless lives in Tonganoxie, and across the world. She taught second grader for 12 years, participated in mission trips to Russia and Haiti and was a marathon runner.
"She never ran out of energy," Beeman said. "She was always going and always giving, but she is with Jesus now and we know that and we wouldn't want her to come back from heaven for anything."
School starts next week at Genesis Academy and Mrs. Andrew's classroom will remain vacant as a tribute to the beloved teacher.
Andrews is the second member of the Genesis Academy killed at this very same intersection. Five years ago, 19-year-old Amanda Bixby died when a man ran through a stop sign. Amanda was a volunteer teacher at the school, and her mom, Denise Bixby, still works as the school’s secretary.
“It really rocks you to the core to know somebody else we love has died at an unfortunate intersection everyone knows for years has been a problem," Bixby said. "It’s the opening of a wound we thought had healed over."
School officials wonder what could have happened if changes were made sooner.
Although a traffic study on the intersection was complete in 2010, construction on the intersection isn’t scheduled to start until August 27.
K-DOT says the new traffic lights will be fully-activated by December.
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