Amy Cunningham

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A horrific head-on collision between a truck and car on the U.S. 56 Highway overpass at the intersection of New Century Parkway took the lives of two people on Wednesday evening.

Hannah Apperson

The accident happened just after 5 p.m. when a westbound pick-up truck, driven by 63- year-old Milton Whaley of Gardner, and an eastbound passenger car, driven by 41-year- old Lisa Apperson, also of Gardner, collided.

According to Tom Erickson with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, first responders pronounced 13-year-old Hannah Apperson, a passenger in the car, dead at the scene of the accident.  The driver of the truck suffered critical injuries after being ejected from his vehicle.  He was transported to Overland Park Regional Hospital where he later died around 10 p.m.

Another passenger in the car, Hailey Apperson, 10, was transported via helicopter to Children’s Mercy Hospital in critical condition.  The girls’ mother, Lisa, remains hospitalized at Overland Park Regional Hospital.  The other passenger in the car, 6-year-old Cooper Apperson also remains hospitalized at Children’s Mercy.  No update is available on their condition.

Authorities have not determined the cause of the accident at this time.  The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team, along with the Gardner Police Department, are currently investigating.

Hannah Apperson was a Wheatridge Middle School seventh grader.  This is the third fatal automobile accident involving a Gardner Edgerton School District student this school year.  Leann Northway, USD 231 Community Relations Coordinator said district officials are putting a plan into place to help students and staff cope with the loss of the teen.

We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family,” said Heath Sigg, Principal of Wheatridge Middle School. “We are a strong caring community and we will help and support each other through this extremely difficult time.”