A Parsons man died from injuries suffered in a single car accident Tuesday evening in Parsons and his wife was critically injured.

The accident happened about 7:47 p.m. Tuesday on Kimball west of Richard. The driver, Harold “Hut” Whetzel, 83, 1211 Kimball, and his passenger, Bette Whetzel, 78, 1211 Kimball, were removed from the wreckage and taken to Labette Health.

The report to police was that the car was on fire. A neighbor used a fire extinguisher to knock down the flames by the time emergency crews arrived, police said.

Whetzel told responders that the accelerator had stuck. The car was facing east in a yard on the south side of Kimball and had struck a large tree.

“Hut” Whetzel, a longtime baseball coach in Parsons and a former minor league pitcher in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in the late 1950s, was later transported by ambulance to Tulsa, where he died from his injuries. His wife, Bette Whetzel, was transported to Freeman Hospital by ambulance. She remains in critical condition.

“This is an unfortunate event, and my heart goes out to the family and anyone affected by the loss of Harold,” Police Chief Robert Spinks said. “Deputy Chief Dennis Dodd heard the crash and was able to report it and respond to the scene to help the arriving officers. That is a sign of a true professional in my opinion.”

This continues to be an ongoing investigation and citizens are encouraged to “see it, hear it, report it.” If anyone has any further information on this accident, please contact the Parsons Police Department at 421-7060, the tip line at 421-7057 or email tips@parsonspd.com.

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