January 4, 2007

Highway Patrol Reports Eight Fatalities During New Years Counting Period

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports eight people died during the New Years holiday counting period from 6 p.m., Friday, December 29, 2006 to 11:59 p.m., Monday, January 1, 2007. During this years 78-hour counting period, the Patrol investigated 247 traffic crashes, which included 109 injuries and all eight fatalities.

Troopers also arrested 132 people for driving while intoxicated.

Last year, the Patrol investigated 220 traffic crashes, including 81 injuries. There were eight fatalities during the last years New Years holiday. Troopers arrested 151 people for driving while intoxicated during last years counting period, which was also 78 hours in length.

Of the eight fatalities, two occurred in the Troop C, St. Louis area, Troop H, St. Joseph area, and Troop I, Rolla area. One fatality occurred in both the Troop A, Lees Summit area, and Troop D, Springfield area.

Two people died on Friday, December 29, 2006.

Justin R. Baker, 19, of Stella, MO, died when the vehicle he was driving ran off the roadway, struck a pile of utility poles, and overturned. Baker was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. The crash occurred in McDonald County on Harrell Road south of Rocky Comfort.

Matthew R. Bozarth, 23, of Richmond, KS, died when the vehicle he was driving sideswiped a second vehicle, traveled off the side of the roadway, crossed the median, entered the southbound lanes of Interstate 35, and was struck broadside by a third vehicle. The crash occurred in Clay County on Interstate 35 just north of Missouri Highway 152. Bozarth was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

The driver of the vehicle sideswiped by Bozarth was not injured. The driver and a passenger in the vehicle that struck Bozarths vehicle sustained moderate and serious injuries, respectively. Both were wearing seat belts.

One fatality occurred on Saturday, December 30, 2006.

Beverly L. Wren, 34,of Bonne Terre, MO, died when the vehicle she was driving traveled off the left side of the roadway and she overcorrected, causing the vehicle to drive off the right side of the road, strike a tree, and overturn. Wren was not wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in St. Francois County on Berry Road two miles north of Cash Lane.

Three fatalities occurred on Sunday, December 31, 2006. Dale K. Weber, 62, and Forrest E. Weber, 65, both of Menasha, WI, died when their vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 35 north of Bethany in Harrison County. The crash occurred after a driver traveling south lost control, crossed the median, and came to rest in the northbound lanes of I-35. A tractor-trailer then struck both that vehicle and the Weber vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle that struck them sustained minor injuries. All were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Taylor R. Hatcher, 9, of Normandy, MO, died when the driver of the vehicle in which she was a passenger lost control on rain slicked asphalt, rotated counterclockwise, and slid off the left side of the roadway striking a guardrail. The crash occurred on Interstate 70 at the Missouri Highway 170 exit in St. Louis County.

Both the driver and Hatcher were wearing seat belts.

Two people died on New Years Day, January 1, 2007.

Donald D. Leinweber, 60, of Novi, MI, and Kenneth J. Penberty, 50, of Warren, MI, died when the vehicle in which they were passengers traveled into the median. The driver of the vehicle overcorrected, causing the vehicle to return to the roadway and overturn. The traffic crash occurred in Crawford County on Interstate 44 four miles west of Cuba, MO.

Penberty was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.

Leinweber and the driver were wearing seat belts. The driver sustained moderate injuries.

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