POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports eight people died during the New Year's holiday counting period from 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Troopers investigated 486 traffic crashes with 147 injuries and seven fatalities.
In addition, troopers made 124 arrests for driving while intoxicated. The Lee's Summit Police Department investigated one of the fatalities.
During last year's New Year's holiday counting period, troopers investigated 163 traffic crashes with 75 injuries and five of the six fatalities. In 2011, troopers arrested 90 people for driving while intoxicated.
Last year, 777 traffic crashes occurred statewide over the New Year's holiday weekend, which included 311 injuries and six fatalities.
There were no fatalaties in the Troop E area this holiday season. Two fatalities occurred in the Troop A, Lee's Summit area (which includes the fatality Lee's Summit Police Department investigated), the Troop B, Macon area, and Troop G, Willow Springs area. One fatality occurred in each of the following: Troop C, Weldon Spring area, and Troop H, St. Joseph area.
One person died on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Jo A. Gray, 56, of Villa Ridge, MO, died when a second vehicle crossed the center line and struck the vehicle in which Gray was driving head-on. The crash occurred in Franklin County on Missouri Route AT east of Missouri Route M. Gray was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Dr. Aaron Norris pronounced Gray dead at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The passenger in Gray's vehicle sustained serious injuries. He was wearing a seat belt. The driver of the vehicle that struck Gray's vehicle sustained serious injuries. That driver was not wearing a seat belt.
Two people died on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. Ashlea R. Harper, 27, Kirbyville, MO, died when a second vehicle collided into the rear of the vehicle Harper was driving. Harper's vehicle then traveled off the right side of the roadway, struck a dirt embankment, and overturned numerous times. Harper was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and was ejected from the vehicle. The crash occurred in Wright County on U.S. Highway 60 west of Norwood, MO. Dr. Jacob Spain pronounced Harper dead at
Mercy Hospital. The driver of the vehicle that struck Harper's vehicle sustained minor injuries. He was not wearing a seat belt and fled the scene on foot. He was located and arrested a short time later.
Jessica M. Diehl, 34, of Sumner, MO, died when the vehicle she was driving went off the north edge of the roadway and overturned. The vehicle came to rest on its top in a ditch. The crash occurred in Chariton County on Missouri Highway M east of Missouri Highway Y. Diehl was wearing a seat belt.
Chariton County Coroner Larry Breshears pronounced Diehl dead at the scene. There were two passengers in Diehl's vehicle at the time of the crash. One sustained serious injuries; one was not injured in the crash. Neither passenger was wearing a seat belt.
Chariton County Sheriff's Department, Chariton County Ambulance, Keytesville Fire Department, Brunswick Fire Department, and the Mendon Fire Department assisted at the scene.
Two people died on Dec. 31, 2012. Sawyer E. Jacobson, 3, of Kahoka, MO, died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger ran off the right side of the roadway, struck a tree, overturned, and came to rest on its wheels in a ditch.
Jacobson was secured in a child restraint at the time of the crash.
The crash occurred in Clark County on U.S. Highway 163 west of Wayland, MO. Clark County Coroner Edwin Wilson pronounced Jacobson dead at the scene of the crash.
The driver of the vehicle and another passenger both sustained minor injuries. Both were restrained. Clark County Sheriff's Department, Clark County Ambulance, Clark County Rescue Squad, and the Wayland Fire Department assisted at the scene.
Christopher M. Barnes, 35, of Shawnee, KS, died when he was struck by a vehicle. Barnes was walking behind a vehicle stopped on the right shoulder of Interstate 35 when a second vehicle began to slide forward on the snow-covered road and struck him and the stopped vehicle.
The second vehicle then slid off the right side of the roadway and came to rest in a ditch. No other injuries occurred in the crash, which took place in Clay County on Interstate 35 southbound at the 25.4 mile-marker. Dr. Brad
Hoffman pronounced Barnes dead at Liberty Hospital. The Clay County Sheriff's Department assisted at the scene.
Three people died on Jan. 1, 2013. Ray B. Hicks, 32, of Ava, MO, died when the vehicle he was driving ran off the roadway and overturned. Hicks was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and was partially ejected from the vehicle.
The crash occurred in Douglas County on Missouri Highway N south of Squires, MO. Douglas County Coroner Rick Miller pronounced Hicks dead at the scene.
Timothy W. Elder, 60, of Kansas City, MO, died when he lost control of the vehicle he was driving on the ice-covered roadway. The vehicle left the roadway and struck a bridge pillar.
Elder was not wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in Jackson County on U.S. Highway 50 and SE Todd George Parkway. Lee's Summit Police Department investigated the crash.
The name of the third fatality on January 1, 2013 is being withheld pending the (out-of-state) notification of the next of kin.
The crash occurred in Harrison County on Interstate 35 southbound nine miles south of Bethany, MO.