The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports 17 people died in traffic crashes during the 2013 July Fourth holiday counting period. The counting period began at 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 3, and ended at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 8.
State troopers worked 358 traffic crashes in which 13 people died and 157 were injured. The Columbia Police Department worked one fatality crash; St. Louis City Police Department worked a triple fatality crash. Troopers arrested 199 people for driving while intoxicated during this year’s 102-hour holiday counting period.
Those numbers are way up from last year, when troopers worked 99 traffic crashes in which three people died and 45 were injured. Troopers arrested 59 people for driving while intoxicated last year. Statewide, in 2012, there were 385 traffic crashes, in which four people died and 194 were injured.
The Patrol points out that numbers were likely to be higher this year since the counting period was more than three times longer. This year’s counting period and enforcement efforts stretched over four days since July 4 fell on a Thursday.
No fatalities occurred on Wednesday, July 3. Seven fatalities occurred on Thursday, July 4.
- Timothy R. Panzar, 25, of St. Robert, died when the all-terrain vehicle he was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway, became airborne, struck a tree, and overturned. The ATV then came to rest in the Big Piney River. Panzar and a passenger were ejected into the river. Pulaski County Coroner Mikel Hartness pronounced Panzar dead. The passenger sustained serious injuries. The crash occurred in Pulaski County on Hartford Road north of Missouri Highway 28.
- Kathleen M. Gentner, 72, of Macon, died when she attempted to drive her vehicle across U.S. Highway 36 and was struck in the driver’s side door by an eastbound vehicle. It is unknown whether or not Gentner was wearing a seat belt. Macon County Coroner Brian Hayes pronounced Gentner dead at the scene. The driver and two passengers in the second vehicle sustained minor or moderate injuries. The crash occurred in Macon County on U.S. Highway 36 at Kellogg Avenue.
- Jason A. Rittermeyer, 32, of Archie, died when he lost control of the vehicle he was driving after the vehicle traveled off the right edge of the roadway. The vehicle returned to the roadway, skidded sideways across the highway, and was struck in the passenger door. Both vehicles came to rest off the south side of the roadway. Rittermeyer was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. In addition to Jason Rittermeyer, Noah Rittermeyer, 10, Sage Rittermeyer, 9, Anna Rittermeyer, 8, all of Archie, and Aleah M. Lucas, 22, of Olathe, Kansas, also died in the crash. Noah was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Sage was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. Lucas was not wearing a seat belt; she was ejected from the vehicle. It is unknown whether or not Anna was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Jackson County Medical Examiner pronounced all fatalities deceased. The driver of the second vehicle sustained minor injuries; he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in Cass County on Missouri Route B at Cantrell Road.
Two people died in traffic crashes on Friday, July 5, 2013.
- Tracy L. Adams, 45, of Wright City, died when the vehicle she was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway, she overcorrected the vehicle, returned to the roadway and began to rotate counterclockwise. The vehicle then slid off the road, struck a shallow ditch, and overturned. Adams was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash; she was partially ejected and came to rest under the vehicle. Warren County Coroner Roger Mauzy pronounced Adams deceased. The crash occurred in Warren County on Westwoods Road east of North Strack Church Road.
- Elizabeth Baylark, 79, of St. Louis, died after she suffered a medical condition and lost control of the vehicle she was driving. Her vehicle then traveled off the roadway and struck a pedestrian at a bus stop bench. Baylark was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Dr. Fulkert at DePaul Hospital pronounced Baylark dead. The pedestrian suffered moderate injuries in the crash. The crash occurred in St. Louis County on Missouri Highway 180 east of McKelvey Road.
Six people died in traffic crashes on Saturday, July 6, 2013.
- Brenda L. Richards, 44, of Washington, died when the vehicle she was driving ran off the right side of the roadway, she overcorrected causing the vehicle to travel across the roadway and into the median where it overturned. Richards was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Deputy Coroner Woodward pronounced Richards dead at the scene. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Interstate 44, four miles east of Carthage.
- Brandon M. Blankenship, 24, of St. Charles, died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger failed to negotiate a curve to the left, traveled off the right side of the roadway, overturned several times, and struck several trees. The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash. Blankenship was not wearing a seatbelt. Deputy Coroner Steve Hatfield pronounced Blankenship dead. The driver of the vehicle sustained serious injuries in the crash; she was wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in Washington County on Missouri Highway 21 at Missouri Route C.
- Joseph B. Stamey, 26, of Belton, died when the all-terrain vehicle he was driving skidded off the roadway and struck a tree. Stamey was ejected. Both the vehicle and Stamey came to rest in the roadway. Ozark County Coroner Shane Ledbetter pronounced Stamey dead. The crash occurred in Ozark County on County Road 529 west of Missouri Route J.
- Lydell Templeton, 43, of St. Louis, died when he lost control of the vehicle he was driving. The vehicle then collided with the median and overturned several times before catching fire. In addition to Lydell Templeton, Michael J. Helm, 20, of St. Louis, and Tyrone Cain II, 40, address unknown, died in the crash. Two additional passengers sustained serious injuries. Seatbelt information is unknown. Four of the five occupants were ejected from the vehicle. The crash occurred in St. Louis County near the Highway 40/Interstate 64 interchange at Kingshighway. St. Louis City Police Department investigated the crash.
Two people died on Sunday, July 7, 2013.
- Michael S. Mann, 40, of High Ridge, died when the motorcycle he was driving failed to negotiate a curve. The vehicle began to skid and struck a second vehicle. Dr. Olsen at St. Anthony’s Hospital pronounced Mann dead. The driver of the vehicle that struck Mann’s motorcycle was not injured in the crash. The crash occurred in Jefferson County on High Ridge Boulevard east of Antire Road.
- Brandon E. Bainter, 29, of Quincy, Ill., died when he lost control of the motorcycle he was driving and collided with a utility pole. Bainter was ejected. The crash occurred in Boone County at the intersection of West Broadway Street and Westwood Avenue in Columbia. The Columbia Police Department investigated the crash.
Three people drowned on Missouri waterways. Two people drowned on July 4, at Smithville Lake in Clinton County.
- The body of John S. Butts, 55, of Smithville, was recovered on July 5, 2013 near Smithville Lake Access 14. The body was taken to Frontier Forensic in Kansas City; the investigation continues.
- The body of Gregory E. Weese, age unknown, of Plattsburg, was recovered on July 5, 2013, near the Smithville Lake Access 14. His body was also taken to Frontier Forensic in Kansas City.
One person drowned on Friday, July 5.
- The incident occurred in the Troop C, Weldon Spring, area. The investigation continues. Identification has not been released.
There were zero boating fatalities over the 2013 July Fourth counting period. Troopers investigated 17 boating crashes involving 11 injuries.
Troopers also arrested 17 people for boating while intoxicated over the holiday counting period. During the 2012 July Fourth weekend, officers investigated six boating crashes, which included two injuries and no fatalities. One person drowned, two people were electrocuted, and seven people were arrested for boating while intoxicated during last year’s July Fourth weekend.
The Patrol says fatality statistics may change if someone dies from their injuries or if other law enforcement departments report fatal traffic crashes after today’s press release was sent out, or if a fatality is determined to be caused by a medical condition rather than traffic incident.
The Patrol posts all accident details on its website, click HERE.
AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (:65)