Eight die in Memorial Day weekend traffic crashes, none wearing seat belts
Eight people died in traffic crashes over the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. Last year, six people were killed during the three-day weekend. During the counting period of 6 p.m., Friday, May 23 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 26, 2014, the Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated 295 traffic crashes which included 130 injuries and the eight fatalities. Troopers also arrested 146 people for driving while intoxicated. During the 2013 Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Patrol investigated 274 traffic crashes resulting in 119 injuries and five of the six fatalities. Last year, 129 people were arrested by the Patrol for driving while intoxicated.
“Eight people died over the Memorial Day weekend and not one of them was wearing a seat belt,” said Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Patrol. “We cannot emphasize it enough: Seat belts save lives. Please buckle up every time you are in a vehicle.”
There were zero boating fatalities over the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. Troopers investigated eight boating crashes involving two injuries. There were no drownings. Troopers arrested 20 people for boating while intoxicated over the weekend. During the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, officers investigated seven boating crashes, which included three injuries, and one fatality. There were no drownings over last year’s Memorial Day weekend. Eighteen people were arrested for boating while intoxicated during the 2013 holiday.
Of the eight traffic crash fatalities investigated by the Patrol, three occurred in the Troop C, Weldon Spring, area.
Two fatalities occurred on Friday, May 23. Austin A. Elliott, 17, of Doniphan, died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger ran off the roadway, overcorrected, and overturned. All vehicle occupants were ejected. The crash occurred in Ripley County on U.S. Highway 160 one mile west of Briar.
Cory W. Wierman, 23, of California, died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the roadway and he overcorrected. The vehicle then slid off the left side of the roadway and overturned. The crash occurred in Moniteau County on Lookout Trail one mile east of String Creek Road.
Three people died on Saturday, May 24. Daniel P. Nordin, 66, and Maudie M. Nordin, 70, both of Villa Ridge, died when the vehicle Daniel Nordin was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. The vehicle then overturned down an embankment and came to rest on the south outer road. Both the driver and passenger were ejected. The crash occurred in St. Louis County on Interstate 44 eastbound east of Missouri Route 109.
John W. Lawson, 27, of Springfield, died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger swerved, struck a second vehicle, then traveled into the median and overturned. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Interstate 44 eastbound at the 21-mile marker.
Two people died on Sunday, May 25. Jeffrey D. Walls, 48, of Springfield, died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the roadway and struck a fence and a tree. The crash occurred in Greene County on U.S. Highway 160 four miles west of Willard.
Gary W. French, 17, of Winfield, died when the vehicle he was driving crossed the center line and struck the front left of another vehicle. The crash occurred in Lincoln County on Missouri Highway 47 east of Linns Mill Road.
Page N. Brown, 20, of Lebanon, died when the vehicle in which she was traveling drove off the north side of the roadway, struck a guardrail, and then returned to the roadway. The vehicle then struck a bridge facing and overturned several times before coming to rest. It is unknown which person was driving at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in Laclede County on Missouri Highway 64 one mile west of Lebanon.
Captain Ronald S. Johnson, commanding officer of Troop C, Weldon Spring, announced the 2014 Memorial Weekend traffic crash and enforcement totals for the Troop C area. Troopers participated in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) during the holiday weekend. As an added enforcement effort, Troop C officers conducted a 20-Mile Trooper operation on I-70 and Interstate 44.
The 2014 Memorial Day holiday weekend counting period was from 6 p.m. on Friday, May 23, 2014, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 26, 2014. Enforcement totals are as follow in Troop C:
Motor vehicle crashes investigated — 72
Fatalities — 3
Unrestrained Fatalities — 3
Speed — 639 summonses
Seat Belt — 254 summonses
Child Restraint — 28 summonses
Hazardous Moving Violations — 125 summonses
Driver’s License/Insurance/Registration Violations — 333 summonses
Hazardous Equipment Violations — 37 summonses
Non-moving Violations — 103 summonses
Misdemeanor Arrests — 95 arrests
Felony Arrests — 15 arrests
DWI Arrests — 31 arrests
Warnings — 1,280
Motorist Assists — 366
“Even though this major holiday period has ended, we want to urge motorists to continue to drive safely and please take the job of driving seriously. Obey the speed limit, pay attention, buckle up, and do not drink and drive,” stated Captain Johnson.