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Icy road crash kills Laconia man

Icy road conditions were contributing factors in two fatalities, including one in Harrison County, Monday morning, Nov. 20, 2006.
James K. (Squeek) Withers Jr., 54, of Laconia was pronounced dead at the scene after his Chevy Cavalier collided with a Ford Ranger about 6:15 a.m. on S.R. 135 just north of Lopp Circle Road.
Harrison County Chief Deputy Coroner Malcolm McMakin said Withers died from blunt force trauma to his head and chest. Withers was not wearing a seat belt, McMakin said.
Withers was driving south on S.R. 135 when he appeared to steer right to avoid a collision with a northbound pickup driven by Gloria Ritter of Vine Grove, Ky., according to Capt. Eric Fischer of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept.
Ritter had lost control of her vehicle due to ice on the road surface, Fischer said. Her truck spun around and crossed into the southbound lane of traffic. The front driver’s side panel struck the right rear quarter panel of Ritter’s truck, he said.
After the impact, Ritter’s truck hit a concrete retaining wall before coming to a stop, Fischer said, and Wither’s car stopped in the emergency lane on the east side of the road.
Ritter appeared to be uninjured, Fischer said.
Less than two hours later, in Clark County, a 19-year-old Sellersburg man was killed after he lost control of his Ford Ranger on an ice-covered bridge on S.R. 403.
Withers was born in Harrison County, on Jan. 11, 1952, the son of James K. Withers Sr. of Laconia and the late Anna Gladys McKim Withers.
He was employed as a boilermaker, and was a member of Boilermakers Union Local 40 in Elizabethtown, Ky., and the Masonic lodge in New Albany.
Survivors besides his father include two sons, James Richard Withers of Clarksville and Jesse Hood Withers of Elizabeth; a brother, Rick A. Withers of Lanesville; a sister, Diana Sue Heagey of Lebanon, Pa.; and a grandson.
Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and after 9 a.m. Saturday at Beanblossom-Cesar Funeral Home in Corydon.
The funeral will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home followed by burial in the Central Cemetery. The Rev. Lanny Amy will officiate.