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Four injured in Friday wrecks

PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Dec. 20, 2010) — Pulaski County had no injury crashes during the weekend, but two Friday wrecks outside the county injured local people or involved county emergency response agencies.

The best-known of the two wrecks happened about 12:50 p.m. in Phelps County near mile marker 173, commonly known as the Jerome exit, when a semi driven by Ronald M. Hungate, 64, of Harrodburg, Ky., rolled over and blocked the eastbound lanes for hours. Missouri Department of Transportation officials reported that the crash initially blocked all lanes, and the right lane wasn’t cleared until 3:46 p.m.

According to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports, Hungate had been eastbound in a 2000 Peterbuilt semi truck and observed traffic ahead of his truck slowing. Hungate attempted to avoid a slower vehicle, drove to the right, overcorrected by steering to the left abruptly, and then overturned in the roadway.

Troopers reported that Hungate, who had been wearing his seat belt, suffered minor injuries and was transported to Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla by Dixon Ambulance District personnel. His semi was totaled and removed by C&C Towing.

Personnel from Phelps County Ambulance and the Missouri Department of Transportation also assisted at the crash scene.

Later that evening in Maries County, troopers reported that Robert E. Stephenson, 73, of Meta, had been driving a 2002 Buick Century westbound when he crossed the centerline on Highway 42 at Route T west of Vienna in front of an eastbound 2005 Ford Escape driven by Jose E. Harrison, 29, of Crocker. Harrison drove into the ditch to avoid the oncoming car but was struck in the ditch.

Harrison wasn’t hurt but his two passengers, Kelsay R. Thomasina, 27, of Iberia, and Angie L. Ward, 33, of Crocker, were both transported to Lake Regional Medical Center in Osage Beach by Community Ambulance personnel; Thomasina suffered minor injuries and Ward had moderate injuries.

Stephenson’s injuries were serious and he was transported to University Medical Center in Columbia by Lifeline II Air Ambulance.

All four had been wearing their seat belts, troopers reported.

Both vehicles were extensively damaged. Stephenson’s Buick was removed by Plaza Towing; Harrison’s Ford Escape was removed by Whittle’s Towing of Iberia.

In two unrelated Sunday incidents reported by state troopers in Pulaski County:

  • Troopers arrested Colby L. Swanzy, 22, of St. Robert, at 1:40 a.m. on charges of driving while intoxicated, speeding, improper equipment and no front license plate. He was transported to the Pulaski County Jail and subsequently released.
  • Troopers arrested Antonio L. Skelton, 33, of St. Robert, at 2:13 a.m. on charges of driving while his license was revoked. He was transported to the Pulaski County Jail and subsequently released.

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