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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Tragic Accident Takes Life Of Valley Heights Teacher & Coach

By Bruce Dierking – KNDY News

A tragic fatality/injury accident was reported early Friday afternoon, claiming the life of Valley Heights teacher and coach Lew Whitson, and injuring his wife Jill.

He and his family were southbound on U.S. Highway 77 at the Riley corner and collided with a northbound vehicle turning at that intersection, driven by Daniel J. Gray, age 29, of Lawrence.

Jill Whitson was transported to Stormont Vail hospital in Topeka with suspected serious injuries. The Kansas Highway Patrol accident report did not indicate if daughters Haylee Whitson, age 18, and Emma Whitson, age 12, were injured.

Neither the driver, nor a passenger in the Gray vehicle suffered injuries. Valley Heights High School was open Saturday for staff and students, with counselors on hand.

Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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