Three fatal traffic crashes were investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol over the four-day weekend, which began Wednesday evening and ran through midnight Sunday. That’s down from seven fatalities last year, and is fewer than even a typical weekend, which results in around three to six fatalities, the Patrol says.

The Missouri Highway Patrol investgated 368 traffic crashes over the four-day holiday weekend, three of which were fatal.

“We needed a good weekend,” Lt. Jon Hotz says, “for whatever reason, last weekend we had 12 fatal crashes across the state and that was just a regular weekend.”

He says there’s really no rhyme or reason that contributes to the variance in numbers from one weekend to the next so long as weather or holiday travel and crowded roadways aren’t factors.

Hotz points out that none of the victims were wearing a seatbelt, and urges motorists to buckle up and pay attention to the road. He says this becomes even more important and winter weather is fast approaching.

“We know that at some point were going to have that first snowstorm,” he says. “We want everyone to drive at a speed that’s appropriate for those conditions once we do see the weather deteriorate.”

The Patrol also investigated 365 crashes, which included 125 injuries. Troopers arrested 126 people for driving while intoxicated. Accident totals parallel 2010’s numbers, but DUI arrests were down. Last year, the Patrol investigated 364 crashes, which included 114 injuries; 144 people were arrested for DUI.

Those killed this year were Leonard Bass, 48, of Warrenton; Dylan Simmons, 17, of Sikeston; and Mary Carlock, 51, of Princeton.

Bass and Carlock were both traveling alone when their cars ran off the road. Simmons was driving another teenage passenger, who was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The passenger was also not wearing a seatbelt, the Patrol reports.

Hotz says the number of fatalities could change if late deaths occur, or if other law enforcement departments report fatal traffic crashes.

The Patrol did not follow up on or report any boating accidents during the same time period.