Icy conditions lead to death of Moundridge man

The wreckage of a pickup driven by Steven James Mendola sits atop a rollback after a crash that claimed his life Monday, Jan. 13.

Staff reports

A 50-year-old Moundridge man suffered fatal injuries early Monday, Jan. 13, when his pickup overturned about 7 a.m. just north of Hesston on Interstate 135.

Steven James Mendola, 50, was traveling north when he lost control of the 2007 Ford F-150 King Ranch he was driving at milepost 41.5, according to Harvey County Sheriff’s Deputy Lorenzo Bohringer. Mendola’s pickup crossed the median and overturned before it was struck by a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta driven by Megan Rae Winegarner, 23, Clearwater.

It was weather related—fog turned to ice and kind of hard to see,” Sheriff Chad Gay said. He described the accident as “very violent.”

Icy conditions were the cause of another accident about 40 minutes later at milepost 39.9, according to sheriff reports. John Alfred Wells, 37, Moundridge, was driving south, when he lost control of his 2005 Ford F-150. The vehicle slid into the median, hit a guard rail and overturned.

Winegarner was taken by ambulance to Wesley Medical Center for injuries that were not considered life-threatening.