MHS senior dies following car accident

A Marion High School senior apparently lost control of his vehicle while driving home to Florence early Sunday morning, Jan. 4, and died later that day of complications from the ensuing accident.

Calvin Lewis Riggs, 18, was driving a 1982 Chevrolet S-10 pickup southbound on U.S. Highway 77 when he apparently lost control of the vehicle on icy patch of roadway just north of the intersection at 150th.

At about 1:15 a.m., the pickup slid into a west ditch, rolled and injured Riggs.

“The roads were slick at that time,” said Lee Becker, Marion County sheriff. “It’s a tragic accident.”

Although the accident occurred at about 1:15 a.m., it was not discovered until later by a passing motorist, who notified the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at 5:40 a.m.

“At that time, (the motorist) did not know that Calvin was there,” Becker said. “They just saw the vehicle. It was dark, and they didn’t see the victim there.”

Patrolman Josh Whitwell, from the Marion Police Department, was the first to arrive on the scene at 5:59 a.m. Two minutes later, he requested an ambulance.

The Marion unit of the Marion County Ambulance Service arrived at the scene and transported Riggs to St. Luke Hospital in Marion.

Riggs was breathing when Whitwell arrived on the scene, Becker said. Life Team was notified but could not respond because of icy weather conditions.

“They flew for about 10 minutes, and it started icing, so they couldn’t do it,” Becker said. “At 6:08 a.m., they advised they were unable to fly at that time. Then later, after he was treated at St. Luke, they tried a second time. They went out flying for about 10 minutes and came back because of the icing on the rotors.”

When Life Team was unable to fly, Riggs was transported by ground units, Becker said.

“They stopped in at Newton Medical Center, and from there they went to Wesley Medical Center (in Wichita).”

Riggs is the son of Richard Riggs and stepmother Raquel of Florence and Kelly Bouray and stepfather Mark of McPherson.

As a student at MHS, Riggs participated in football, basketball and track; he was a member of the MHS Singers and MHS Concert Choir; he volunteered as a teacher’s aide at Marion Elementary School; and he was employed at Kingfisher’s Inn in Marion.

A funeral service is scheduled for 3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 7, at Eastmoor United Methodist Church of Marion.

Burial will be at Hillcrest Cemetery in Florence.

The funeral arrangements are being handled by Zeiner Funeral Home of Marion.

A memorial has been established with the MHS Athletic Department.

Riggs is the second MHS student to die as the result of a car accident in the past five months. Alison Teri Cady, 16, and a companion were killed in late July in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of U.S. highways 77 and 50 near Florence.

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