By Pratt Tribune/St. John News staff


A two-vehicle accident in Barton County on March 13 claimed the life of a Hudson teen.

The accident occurred at 10:39 p.m. when a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup, driven by 17-year-old Jaron Brittain of Hudson, was eastbound on U.S. 56 approximately one mile east of Great Bend and crossed the center line. The Dodge may have been trying to pass, according to a press release from the Barton County Sheriff's Office.

A 2003 Ford F250 pickup, driven by Sergio Rutiaga of Liberal, was westbound on U.S. 56. It appears the Dodge attempted to avoid the accident by steering towards the north ditch. The Ford broadsided the Dodge in the passenger door. The passenger, Wyatt Henkel, 15 of Hudson, suffered fatal injuries in the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Brittain and Rutiagia were both transported to the KU Medical Center in Great Bend with non life-threatening injuries. Their current condition is unknown.

Barton County Sheriff's Office is investigating the accident. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this accident.

Assisting the Sheriff's Office at the scene were units from the Great Bend Fire Department and EMS, Great Bend Police Department and Kansas Highway Patrol.

The St. John-Hudson USD 350 school district, where Henkel attended, offered grief counseling for fellow students at 4 p.m. on March 14 at the library community room.