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.