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Eight die over Memorial Day weekend in traffic-related accidents in Missouri

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eight people died in traffic crashes over the Memorial Day weekend in Missouri, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Last year, six people were killed during the three-day weekend. From 6 p.m. Friday to through 11:59 p.m. Monday, 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.

In comparison, last year during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, troopers 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 Missouri State Highway Patrol. “We cannot emphasize it enough: Seat belts save lives. Please buckle up every time you are in a vehicle.”

Of the eight traffic crash fatalities investigated, three occurred in the Weldon Spring area; two occurred in the Springfield area; and one occurred in each of the Poplar Bluff, Jefferson City and Rolla areas.

Two fatalities occurred on Friday, May 23. Austin A. Elliott, 17, of Doniphan, Mo., died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger ran off the roadway, over corrected, and overturned in the roadway. All vehicle occupants were ejected; none of them were wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in Ripley County on U.S. Highway 160 one mile west of Briar, Mo. Ripley County Coroner Mike Jackson pronounced Elliott dead at the scene. The driver and two of the passengers sustained serious injuries; the remaining passenger sustained moderate injuries.

Cory W. Wierman, 23, of California, Mo., died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway and he over corrected. The vehicle then slid off the left side of the roadway and overturned. Wierman was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in Moniteau County on Lookout Trail one mile east of String Creek Road. Dr. Jeremy Jensen pronounced Weirman dead at University Hospital in Columbia, Mo.

Three people died on Saturday, May 24. Daniel P. Nordin, 66, and Maudie M. Nordin, 70, both of Villa Ridge, MO, 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; neither was wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in St. Louis County on Interstate 44 eastbound east of Missouri Route 109. St. Louis County Medical Examiner Christine Keim pronounced Daniel Nordin and Maudie Nordin dead at the scene.

John W. Lawson, 27, of Springfield, Mo., died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger swerved, struck a second vehicle, then traveled into the median and overturned. Lawson was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Interstate 44 eastbound at the 21-mile marker. The driver of the vehicle and a second passenger both sustained serious injuries. The driver was wearing a seat belt; the second passenger was not. Jasper County Deputy Coroner George Woodward pronounced Lawson dead at the scene.

Two people died on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Jeffrey D. Walls, 48, of Springfield, Mo., died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the roadway and struck a fence and a tree. Walls was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in Greene County on U.S. Highway 160 four miles west of Willard, Mo. Greene County Medical Examiner David Brown pronounced Walls dead at the scene.

Gary W. French, 17, of Winfield, Mo., died when the vehicle he was driving crossed the center line and struck the front left of another vehicle. The second vehicle then traveled off the right side of the roadway and overturned. French was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in Lincoln County on Missouri Highway 47 east of Linns Mill Road. Lincoln County Coroner Kelly Walters pronounced French dead at the scene. The two passengers in French’s vehicle sustained minor injuries; they were both wearing seat belts. The driver of the second vehicle sustained minor injuries; he was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Page N. Brown, 20, of Lebanon, Mo., 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. Brown was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. A second person in the vehicle sustained serious injuries; she was not wearing a seat belt. 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, Mo. Laclede County Coroner Steven Murrell pronounced Brown dead at the scene.

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