A one-vehicle rollover accident early Friday evening sent a mother and daughter to Via Christi St. Francis hospital in Wichita with critical injuries. Tamara Yutzy and her 8-year-old daughter Rylee Spears of Goessel were traveling east on Cheyenne Road, two miles west of Goessel, at approximately 5:30 p.m. when their vehicle left the road and rolled several times in a soybean field.
Goessel school bus drivers Rannie Schmidt and Diana Schmidt were in the process of ferrying buses from summer repair in Moundridge back to Goessel for the beginning of the school year when they came upon the accident.
“Not more than 10 minutes earlier we had just gone down that road with the third bus,” Rannie Schmidt said. “It was late, but we decided to go get another one. Just after leaving Goessel we noticed something wasn’t right.”
Schmidt said they saw a car in the field and first thought it was somebody inspecting crops. As they got closer, they saw the car was on its side and mangled.
“We ran about 50, 60, maybe 70-feet into the field before we found the people,” Schmidt said.
Just days before, the bus drivers along with other USD 411 staff, were recertified in CPR training through the school. Typically, the recertification training led by Curtis Guhr is just a mild refresher course, but Diana Schmidt said they studied more in-depth how to react in accident situations. That training was fresh on the drivers’ minds as they put into practice what they learned.
“I saw Rannie go to work right away and knew he knew what to do,” Diana Schmidt said. “I called 911 as soon as I saw the empty car and heard someone calling for help.”
Schmidt’s 911 call brought first responders from Goessel and an ambulance from Moundridge. Eagle Med helicopter services also arrived on the scene and flew the two victims to Wichita where they remained Tuesday.
As of Monday, Yutzy was responsive at times, but unable to talk. She was no longer using a ventilator, but was immobilized due to possible spinal fractures. Her daughter, Rylee, remained on a ventilator and had been in and out of surgery to repair lacerations and skin loss on her leg and foot.
Friends and relatives of the victims set up a Facebook page for updates and prayer requests. This information is available at “Tamara and Rylee Updates.”