The Highway Patrol says many of the people who died on the state’s highways and waterways over the Labor Day weekend were not wearing proper protective equipment.
The Patrol says at least seven of the 10 that were killed in traffic crashes were not wearing seatbelts. One fatality occurred in the jurisdiction of the Columbia Police Department, so the Patrol does not know if that person was wearing a seatbelt.
The four people who died on Missouri lakes and rivers were not wearing life jackets. Two of them drowned; two were killed in boating accidents.
Lt. Tim Hull with the Patrol says in a couple of those auto crashes, other people in the vehicles that were wearing a seatbelt survived. Sgt. Jerry Callahan with the Water Patrol Division notes that a woman survived falling out of a pontoon boat and being hit by its propeller largely because she was wearing a life jacket.
This year’s fatality totals are the same as those from the Labor Day 2010 weekend.
From 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Tuesday morning, the Highway Patrol investigated 259 traffic crashes including 135 injuries compared to 294 crashes and 148 injuries last year. 175 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated, down from 190 in 2010.
Of the nine traffic crash fatalities troopers investigated, three occurred in the Troop F, Jefferson City, area; two occurred in the areas of Troop B, Macon, and Troop D, Springfield; one occurred in Troop A, Lee’s Summit, area, and Troop H, St. Joseph, area.
Five fatalities occurred on Saturday, Sept. 3. Timothy M. Chavez, 19, of Ashland, died when the vehicle he was driving drove off the right side of the roadway and he overcorrected. The vehicle then drove off the left side of the roadway and struck a utility pole. The crash occurred in Boone County on Missouri Route MM. Dr. Rieke pronounced Chavez dead at the scene. A passenger in the vehicle sustained moderate injuries. Neither were wearing a seat belt.
Lennice R. Lucas, 47, of Neosho, died when he lost control of the motorcycle he was driving, ran off the left side of the roadway, and struck cable barriers. The crash occurred in Jackson County on Interstate 70 west of Adams Dairy Parkway. Lucas was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Jackson County Medical Examiner Shaun Hachinsky pronounced Lucas dead at the scene.
Daniel E. Branham, 47, of Aurora, died when the car in which he was a passenger ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. The crash occurred in Barry County on Farm Road 1065 south of Aurora. Dr. Brian Tibbs pronounced Branham dead at St. Johns Hospital in Springfield. The other passenger in the vehicle sustained serious injuries in the crash. Neither passenger was wearing a seat belt. The driver of the vehicle was wearing a seat belt and was not injured in the crash.
Jesus G. Carreno, 65, of Cameron, died when he lost control of the tractor he was driving, and was ejected prior to the tractor overturning on top of him. The tractor then came to rest on its wheels. The crash occurred in Clinton County on 292nd Street southeast of Cameron.
David T. McBride, 26, died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger veered off the roadway, struck a curb and then a telephone pole. The vehicle then slid on its top 75 feet before coming to rest. The crash occurred on Blue Ridge Road in Columbia. The Columbia Police Department investigated this fatality.
Two fatalities occurred on September 4, 2011. Brittany R. Shinn, 21, of Shelbina, and Nicholas D. Spilker, 25, of Bethel, died when the vehicle Shinn was driving failed to negotiate a curb and ran off the right side of the road. The vehicle then returned to the road, skidded off the left side of the road, struck a ditch, and overturned several times, ejecting both Shinn and Spilker. Monroe County Deputy Kent Hanshew pronounced both the driver and the passenger deceased at the scene of the crash. The crash occurred in Monroe County on Missouri Route V north of Stoutsville. Neither Shinn nor Spilker were wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Three people died on Labor Day, September 5, 2011. Robert N. Hughey, 54, of Galena, Kansas, died when he tried to avoid a deer lying in the roadway. He lost control of the vehicle, it overturned, and he was ejected. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Missouri Highway 166 west of Joplin.
Jasper County Coroner Rob Chappel pronounced Hughey dead at the scene.
Hughey was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. A passenger in his vehicle sustained moderate injuries in the crash. She was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. [Note: Another vehicle had just struck the deer and pulled into a private drive.]
Taylor N. Thompson, 17, of Hermann, died when the vehicle she was driving crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head on. The crash occurred in Montgomery County on Missouri Highway 19 south of Porters Road. Dr. Nelson at University Hospital in Columbia, pronounced Thompson dead. Thompson was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the vehicle Thompson’s vehicle struck was not injured; he was wearing a seat belt.
Jared R. Witt, 23, of Brumley, died when the vehicle he was driving ran off the roadway and he overcorrected. His vehicle then traveled off the left side of the road, and struck a fence and telephone pole. The crash occurred in Miller County on Missouri Highway 42 east of Crestwood Road.
Miller county Coroner Rick Callahan pronouced Witt dead at the scene. Witt was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Both boating fatalities occurred in the Troop F area. One person drowned in the Troop A area, and one person drowned in the Troop F area.
The boating fatalities occurred on Sept. 4, on the Osage River at the Bonnots Mill Access. The vessel Christopher F. Winkler, 33, of Jefferson City, struck the bow of a second vessel, traveled over the second vessel and a third vessel. The second and third vessel were anchored mid channel at the time of the crash. The occupant of the second vessel, Curtis Libbert, 33, of Tebbetts, was pronounced dead at the scene by Osage County Coroner Lois Jaegers after water recovery was made. One occupant of the third vessel, Alvin T. Blackford, 46, of Russellville, was pronounced dead at the scene by Osage County Coroner Lois Jaegers after water recovery was made. One occupant in the third vessel sustained moderate injuries; two additional occupants sustained serious injuries in the crash. Winkler sustained minor injuries in the crash; he was using a safety device. The occupants of the second and third vessel were not using safety devices.
Two people drowned on Sept. 4. Julio C. Mendoza, 22, of Kansas City, Kansas, was swimming across Swim Beach Cove on Camp Branch, which is located on Smithville Lake, when he began to struggle. Mendoza went under the water and did not resurface. Mendoza was not wearing a safety device.
Alton Mos, 93, of Kansas City, Mo., was last seen fishing on his dock at the Lake Of The Ozarks. His hat was seen floating near the dock. The Missouri State Highway Patrol Dive Team located Mos’ body.
NOTE: The fatality statistics in this news release could change if late deaths occur, if other departments report fatal traffic/boating crashes after this news release was sent out, or if a fatality is determined to be caused by a medical rather than traffic/boating incident.