August 24, 2006
‘Senior Chase’ Results In Six-Car Pileup On First Day of School
The first day of school did not get off to a good start for much of the Class of 2007 at Scotland County R-I High School as a number of the school’s seniors were involved in a six-vehicle traffic accident during the traditional “Senior Chase”.
The ritual saw its last episode turn terribly wrong at just after 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 21 on Highway 15 north in Memphis near the entrance to the C & C Contracting shop.
According to the accident report made available by the Memphis Police Department, the incident occurred when a long chain of vehicles was northbound on Highway 15 at a high rate of speed behind a Memphis police car with its emergency lights lit.
The procession reportedly crested the hill near the St. Paul Lutheran Church entrance and came upon two vehicles that had slowed either to yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle or possibly to turn off the highway.
At that point the police cruiser was able to avoid the van. The first two vehicles in the procession were able to also slow and avoid the van. But the sixth car in the line, which was driven by Brett Sagerty, was unable to avoid the vehicles in its path. The Sagerty vehicle collided with the fifth vehicle in the procession, a 2002 Alero driven by Andrew Cowell. The impact of the collision forced the two cars into a Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Caleb Reese and a 1998 Chevy truck being driven by Matt Wickert.
The vehicles driven by Cowell and Sagerty sustained extensive damage.
A second collision occurred further back in the procession as a Pontiac Firebird driven by Aaron Shaffer was struck by a Chevy Camaro driven by Emily Woods. Both cars sustained extensive damage.
According to Bud Wilson, public relations officer for Scotland County Memorial Hospital, three individuals were transported by Scotland County Ambulance to Scotland County Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries. The hospital also treated several walk-in patients from the accident scene.
Traffic was halted on Highway 15 for nearly 45 minutes as emergency workers tended to the injured passengers and cleared the wreckage.