A couple married 50 years died together Monday when a tractor-trailer hit head on the SUV they were in on Interstate 55 in Jefferson County, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.
Authorities identified them as Leonard Wayne Byrd, 72, and Rebecca Joyce Byrd, 66, both of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The couple died at the scene of the five-vehicle crash, which occurred when tractor-trailer rear-ended a vehicle then plowed through a cable barrier and went into incoming traffic.
The chain-reaction crashes began when a northbound 2015 Chevrolet Cruze was traveling slower than the speed limit. The truck driver applied the brakes but still hit the back of the Cruze, which ran off the interstate and overturned. The truck then struck the side of a northbound 2013 Acura TL.
The truck, a 1993 Western Star, crashed through the cable barrier, veered into the southbound lanes and hit the 2020 Kia Telluride that Rebecca Byrd was driving. The cable barrier hit a southbound 2015 Nissan Altima.
The Byrds were returning home from a trip to Minnesota to visit a relative, said their granddaughter, Brittany Byrd of Farmington, Missouri.
“I’m glad they were together,” she said. “They’ve been together all along and they went together.”