Emergency response personnel serving St. Francois County responded to a total of 18 vehicle crashes between roughly 7 and 8:13 a.m. Thursday, according to officials with St. Francois County 911. The figure includes accidents worked during that period by troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It does not include accidents that took place in that timeframe in the county’s various municipalities, 911 officials said.
Cpl. Juston Wheetley said personnel with the highway patrol responded to a total of 12 crashes Thursday morning in St. Francois County. Of those, 11 reportedly were non-injury accidents, adding that the majority involved vehicles that had slid off the roadway.
A three-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer, however, resulted in injuries.
The incident took place at 7:30 a.m. on U.S. 67 just south of its junction with Route Y, according to a patrol incident report.
It occurred when a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer being driven southbound on U.S. 67 by Karen L. Freiner, 58, of Park Hills, reportedly slid through the median and onto the northbound lanes of 67, striking the trailer of a 2006 Freightliner Columbia, according to the report. The Freightliner, which was traveling northbound, was being driven by Rocky W. Stevens, 59, of Fredericktown, the report states.
A 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt being driven northbound by Bradley R. Goveau, 20, of Park Hills, reportedly hit the Trailblazer after the Trailblazer struck the Freightliner, the report states.
Freiner reportedly sustained moderate injuries and was taken by the St. Francois County Ambulance District to Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Crystal City, the report states. Goveau reportedly sustained minor injuries and was transported by St. Francois County Ambulance District to Parkland Health Center in Bonne Terre, according to the report.
The Trailblazer and the Cobalt were hauled away by Buckley’s Towing of Park Hills. The tractor-trailer was taken away by Fastlane Towing of Collinsville, Illinois.
St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock said the majority of the accidents worked Thursday morning by county emergency personnel were non-injury crashes. “They were mostly all fender benders,” Bullock said. “For the most part, they were people sliding off the road, non-injury type [events].”
With more winter precipitation in the forecast for this weekend, Bullock urged area residents to hunker down at home if possible.
“We certainly encourage people to stay in, if they can,” he said. If not, Bullock said, drivers should leave early and give themselves plenty of time to travel to their destination.
As emergency response personnel can be flooded with calls for help when winter weather hits, he also encouraged those who go out on the roads at those times to be prepared. He suggested that drivers pack a blanket, water and non-perishable food items in their vehicles.
“Take care of yourself until we have time to get there and help you,” Bullock said. “Wreckers are busy. Officers are busy. Take care of yourself until we can get there to help you.”
During a two-hour period on Thursday morning, Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said there were 10 reported accidents – not including the multiple incidents the officers observed where vehicles traveled off the roadway and were able to drive away.
“This started shortly before 8 o’clock….during that time, we had numerous calls of vehicles sliding out of control, leaving the roadway,” Baker said. “Several were able to regain control of their vehicles and left the scene.
Only one accident worked by the department during that time resulted in injuries.
According to Sgt. Sam Weekley, a two-vehicle accident near Karsch Boulevard and U.S. 67 resulted in one driver being transported to a local hospital.
The report states that around 8:15 a.m., a red Ford Focus driven by Jason Teliszczak, 35, of Orlando, Florida was heading west on Karsch Boulevard approaching the exit for northbound U.S. 67 when it was struck from behind by a 2008 Pontiac G6 driven by Kylie Nute, 24, of Farmington.
Nute’s vehicle then traveled off the left side of the roadway and overturned. Nute was transported by St. Francois County Ambulance to Parkland Health Center in Farmington with moderate injuries. Teliszczak was not injured.
Baker said seven marked Farmington Police vehicles and two detective vehicles were stationed in the city limits from north to south along U.S. 67 during the time the accidents were being dispatched – to work the accidents being reported as well as an attempt to caution drivers of the hazardous road conditions.
“Once we started having this problem, we immediately contacted MoDOT of the road conditions and they responded as quickly as possible to treat the roadway,” Baker said.
Baker believes one reason for a large number of accidents was due to motorists driving too fast for the conditions.
“We were out there not only to work any accidents we needed to work, but to attempt to slow the traffic down,” he said.
Clementine Carbery is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or firstname.lastname@example.org