The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports eight people died during the New
Year's holiday counting period from 6 p.m., Friday, December 28, 2012 to
11:59 p.m. Tuesday, January 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.
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
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, December 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
Page 2 of 3 - 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
Two people died on December 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 January 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
Page 3 of 3 - 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,
Note: The fatality statistics in this news release could change if late
deaths occur, or if other departments report fatal traffic crashes after
this news release is distributed.