In 1971 J. Standard Baker Quoted " Drivers Towing Trailers  Are Four (4) Times As Unsafe As Those In Cars Alone! 


Susan Thacker
Updated: Dec. 21, 2019, 1 p.m.

William Howard Baker, the man charged with causing the deaths of two people when his trailer came loose and hit a motorcycle traveling through Great Bend in 2014, has died. Two counts of manslaughter related to the deaths of Shawn and Danielle Schellenger were dismissed in Barton County District Court, due to the defendant being deceased.


Baker had previously been diagnosed with terminal cancer and his trial had been on hold for that reason.

Although the court order to terminate the case was filed on Nov. 19, people who have followed the case report that Baker died four months earlier, on July 20.

No obituary was ever submitted for Baker but one man, Ron Melancon, an advocate for stricter trailer safety laws, never stopped following the case and stayed in touch with family members. Melancon, with DangerousTrailers.org, created the Facebook page/public group “Justice for Shawn and Danielle Schellenger’s (sic) in Kansas.”




No safety chains

Police and court records show that on a sunny Saturday morning on Aug. 16, 2014, five motorcyclists were traveling west through Great Bend on 10th Street. Shawn Schellenger, 27, was fourth in line, with his wife Danielle, 33, as his passenger on a Kawasaki. Both were wearing helmets.


Baker, then 59 years old, was eastbound in the inside line, approaching the motorcycles in a 2001 Ford F-150 pickup pulling a single-axel trailer that carried a riding mower was placed in the rear of the trailer. Baker failed to attach safety chains on the trailer and when the ball popped off the hitch, the trailer came loose and traveled into the oncoming traffic, striking the motorcycle.

Responders arrived in about 5 minutes. The Schellengers were flown to a Wichita hospital but Danielle Schellenger died that afternoon and Shawn Schellenger died the following evening.




Charges filed

No arrests were made at the time. County Attorney Doug Matthews said several items of debris collected at the scene were sent to a lab for testing. A search warrant was later executed at Baker’s property to collect the trailer hitch.

Charges were filed about 10 months later, in June of 2015. Baker remained free on a $50,000 own-recognizance bond.

His preliminary hearing eventually took place in December of 2015.

Doug Hein, a former Great Bend Police Department patrol officer, testified, “Mr. Baker stated he should have put safety chains on the trailer but did not.” Hein said he saw no tie-downs for the mower, which was ejected from the trailer and landed in the road on its side.

Officer Heather McLemore testified that Baker “appeared shaken up and he said he felt sad. ... He stated that he did not put any chains on the trailer.”

Barton County Magistrate Judge Don Alvord found probable cause and Baker was arraigned. Through his attorney, Charles O’Hara, he entered a plea of not guilty and requested a jury trial.




Civil case filed

A trial date was set for May of 2016. Meanwhile, a civil suit was filed on behalf of the Schellengers’ heirs. Baker and his business, HB Landscaping, were named in the suit, which was eventually settled out of court for $500,000.




Trial delayed

The jury trial in the criminal case was rescheduled a few times as both O’Hara and Matthews prepared their cases and attempted to reach a plea agreement.

Court records from 2017 revealed Baker’s “potentially terminal medical condition ... The court is advised that the defendant cannot physically appear in court and that this condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.”

The case became active again in 2018 and it appeared that a jury trial might happen that year. O’Hara said Baker was still in poor health and he would get a doctor’s deposition to see if he was physically able to attend hearings.

On Sept. 17, 2018, the day the trial was scheduled to start, Judge Scott McPherson ruled that Baker would not stand trial as long as his cancer medication interfered with his ability to participate in his defense.




Case closed

The case remained in limbo until the court was advised of Baker’s death and it was closed for good.

Ron Melancon with DangerousTrailer.org said his group is also closing its file. “This is not the end to the prosecution that we wanted; we were prepared to argue for the punishments allowed by law, which could have included imprisonment,” he said.

It is important that people continue to hear the facts about loose and unsafe trailers to help others avoid the same fate as the Schellengers, Melancon said. “Over 700 will die in 2019.”

According to the website, Dangerous Trailers.Org  is the only national safety organization devoted solely to preventing injuries and deaths from passenger vehicles towing trailers. There links on the website to numerous Facebook pages dedicated to individuals and life stories such as the story of the Schellengers.




The Pictures Leaked So Far To Us  We are the "Whisleblower"  that is getting no protection from anybody in Government but each year now over 700 are killed by a "Passenger Vehicle Towing A Trailer"  When we include Hayrides, Parades and RV Towing.


So many people in Government and the Utility Trailer Industry and the "Homemade Trailer Industry" did not want these photo's to be released.....well you be the judge...


Would you let anybody put your own child into a "Homemade Baby Seat"  On the record...say yes or no!  Then why are people towing "Homemade" Trailers on a public tax payer funded roadway? Before we post the pictures read the response we got from the lawyer for the Barton County Government. 


Tuesday January 31, 2019


Mr. Melancon,

I am in receipt of your Kansas Open Records Act request.

From your request, it appears you are requesting all court documents and investigative records concerning the deaths of Shawn and Danielle Schellenger.

First, regarding your request for court records, district court records are not records of Barton County, they are not records of the Barton County Attorney's office, and they are not records of any law enforcement agency. District Court records are records of the Kansas Judicial Branch. That agency, the Kansas Judicial Branch, is a separate agency to whom you must make your request and who sets their own policy and rules regarding records.

Second, regarding your request for investigative records regarding the death of Shawn and Denielle Schellenger, those records are criminal investigation records. Pursuant to paragraph 10, of subsection (a), of section 21, in article 2, of chapter 45, criminal investigation records are an exception to the Kansas Open Records Act. For that reason, those records are not required to be open or disclosed.

Having addressed your request, this matter is now closed. You will receive no further correspondence from us on this request.

Levi Morris
Barton County Attorney


And A Comment From A Advisor:


See this
Second, regarding your request for investigative records regarding the death of Shawn and Denielle Schellenger, those records are criminal investigation records. Pursuant to paragraph 10, of subsection (a), of section 21, in article 2, of chapter 45, criminal investigation records are an exception to the Kansas Open Records Act. For that reason, those records are not required to be open or disclosed.

Normally the law enforcement exception covers only 'active investigations' .... the files become public after, in this case, a decision is made not to move forward with prosecution.
but you know that
that town knows you are pounding on the doors!


have a happy new year ... kiss the wife, hug the kids
tim

Our Letter FOIA


My letter. They sat in this photo evidence for 6 years since this happened over 3,000 more dead by a passenger vehicle towing a trailer.

Shawn & Danielle FYI.
Ron Melancon President
www.dangeroustrailers.org
8898 Castle Point Drive
Glen Allen, VA 23060

December 31, 2019

Barton County
Great Bend Police Department
Custodian Of Records
1217 Williams St
Great Bend, KS 67530

Dear Official In Charge Of Records:

Under the Kansas Open Records Act § 45-215 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that involve the deaths and accident reconstruction investigation of Shawn and Danielle Schellenger. My PI has indicated Howard Baker the man responsible for two deaths has passed away and the entire record including the DA’s investigation including all court documents are now a matter of public record. We have obtained photographic evidence that will allow us to ask for the Resignation of Barton County DA Dave Matthews. Our intention is to show by example why over 500 a year now in the United States die when a towing trailer with no safety chains and hitch pin is totally ignored by our law enforcement and when the District Attorney Dave Matthews has all the evidence and all the statements we seek to obtain is not acted on we call this a dereliction of duty and his office.

Continued resistance to release these vital documents will continue to kill innocent men, women, children and even horses.

If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $100 dollars However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of “The Interest Of Public Safety Outweighs The benefits Of Howard Baker’s money and political contacts. My PI indicates these facts

Baker owned 30 homes and 2 businesses and his money bought him his ability to never be brought to trial.

They had the proof, but Baker attorney was the highest paid in the State of Kansas pulled or used every legal loophole available to delay the trial.

Prove our statement wrong.

Even when they charged him he was released out on his own name..no funds were posted, cause they all knew him. Prove if any bail was set.

This information is not being sought for commercial purpose but to expose the truth and save lives Our intention is to show the entire world that Shawn and Danielle did not die or was sacrificed for no reason. Their lives do matter to us and to the family.

The Kansas Open Records Act requires a response time within three business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than that time period, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

Thank you for considering my request.

Sincerely,

Ron Melancon
President
Dangerous Trailers.Org
804-300-3925

We need help....they are trying to suppress our cause....

The Government keeps attacking our cause...so many people keep attacking our safety efforts....the pushed me to tell the REAL Truth....the facts.... loose trailers are killing innocent men, women and children.....and it's about time they stop trying to suppress our cause and act. So many are paid to Non-Disclose the truth they take the money after promising to help us ...they use our information to obtain settlements but they are paid more to not come and join our efforts....That is called suppressing and using money that helps kills others that are not knowing about the dangers that people who tow cause.

Let us make this perfectly clear and expose why nobody is ever brought to jail when a person is towing a trailer and it comes off and kills men, women and children.  No DA is willing to go after people who is towing trailers that are HOMEMADE....Why did they not bring him to trial?  They had the evidence...they had the pictures...they have the statements that they are refusing to release...but we finally had a person who is going to be protected.....provide us the pictures.     See our FOIA request and the continued resistance to release the full case to us so we can expose why District Attorney Dave Matthews needs to resign.

Even More!


We cannot afford to pay for the reports  


I will make the links work..... for now copy the black ones....the red ones will work...just click



First Of All See This Way Way Back In 2009
 
http://firemenwhohavebeenkilledorhurtbyloose.blogspot.com/2008/02/father-son-killed-in-horrific-bay.html
 
And now this...:
 
https://www.dangeroustrailers.org/barton-county-da-doug-matthews-failed-to-do-anyting-when-howard-baker-towed-a-trailer-with-no-safety-chains-and-killed-shawn-and-danielle-that-s-the-problem.html
 
We keep asking why are so many people trying to suppress our efforts to obtain documents and pictures to prove to the world that the United States Government Incompetence on Passenger Vehicles That Tow Trailers are going to kill another 700 in 2020 with not a single insurance company or Government agency willing to address this critical issue....why? 
 
The Bay Bridge accident should have been the wake up call.

We had all the evidence and we had all the recomendations to address and it took us 2 years to get to the NTSB and we did present our case.

However all the promises and all the funding that was gauranteed at the time restulted in our organization using our limited resourses to "Start The Process"  Only then after powerful lobby groups a year later they were able to simply de-fund our cause because they want the "Status Que"

Since then we have used every method ...every personal credit lines to at least hang on and like the REBEL's in The lastest Star Wars Film they go into battle suffering massive casualties hoping that poeple will "Show UP"  and they finially did but in our cause the Support and the Poeple who want to "Show Up" are paid in settlements to "Non-Disclose" 

What is our evidence?  We have plenty..The Bay Bridge Accident killed 3 and the families sued for 17 million and they won with Non-Disclousres but we simply ask....why have they not come forward and help prevent others like the Schellingers from suffering the exact same manner of death?

Don't you find it odd? Here is our evidence and I beg anyone to disprove our evidence:

http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/NTSB_Meeting_Aug_23.html

NTSB Meeting August 23rd! 2011
National Transportation Safety Board

Good morning Mr. Melancon,

 
      I am writing to confirm our meeting for Tuesday, August 23rd at 1:00 p.m.   As the newly assigned Director, Office of Highway Safety, for the NTSB, I am interested in hearing your concerns and discussing the issues related to dangerous trailers and hearing your recommendations on how to improve highway safety.   Since all issues related to Highway Safety fall under my purview, it is requested that you send all e-mail correspondence directly to me REDACTED!

Regards,

 

         Don

 

Donald F. Karol

Director, Office of Highway Safety

National Transportation Safety Board

490 L'Enfant Plaza East, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20594



Here is the bay bridge accident:


Part one:
http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/Bay_Bridge_Accident.php

Part Two:
http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/Bay_Bridge_Album_1.php

Part Three: 
http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/Bay_Bridge_Album_2.php

Part Four: 
http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/Bay_Bridge_Album_3_ODTI.php

Part Five: 
http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/Bay_Bridge_Album_4.php

Part Six: 
http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/Bay_Bridge_Album_5.php

Now the reports:

http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/uploads/Dangerous_Trailers_Bay_Bridge_Accident_Page_31.PDF

Part Two Of Reports:

http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/uploads/Dangerous_Trailers_Bay_Bridge_Accident_Part_Two_Page_60.PDF

Now The Stunning Admision:



See The Letter that is simply stunning:

They all knew about unsafe towing:

http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/uploads/Letter_Dated_Aug_2002_From_Normon_Minetta_to_Congressma_Baker.pdf


Stunning Conclusion:

http://www.old.dangeroustrailers.org/Stunning_Conclusion.html


So I ask..with over 19 million dollars won by these families....no one....not a single lawyer....not a single government agency is willing to help our cause?    The lawyers are not talking....nobody is talking....why?

http://dangeroustrailers.blogspot.com/2009/04/19-million-lawsuit-filed-in-2007-bay.html

This is only one example...we have thousands:

Here is another
https://www.dangeroustrailers.org/massive-lawsuit-u-haul-17-million-dollars-and-they-need-to-be-held-accountable-for-what-they-do--.html

And The Death Of Susan Schaffer...once again...nobody is talking.....why?

https://www.dangeroustrailers.org/susan-shaffer-was-killed-by-a-loose-fema-trailer-everything-is-too--trade-secret--to-let-the-public-know-why-.html
 


We submitted our letter to the Governor Of Kansas