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Five-vehicle pileup snarls traffic for hours Thursday on I-44 in St. Robert
Five-vehicle pileup snarls traffic for hours Thursday on I-44 in St. Robert

State troopers investigate a car that was rear-ended in Thursday's wreck.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Aug. 20, 2009) — A five-vehicle pileup on Interstate 44 in front of the St. Robert McDonald’s critically injured one person and sent at least five others to General Leonard Wood Community Hospital with undetermined injuries on Thursday afternoon, while also snarling traffic on Old Route 66 and Missouri Avenue for nearly five hours.

St. Robert Fire Chief Chuck Fraley said the 3:20 p.m. crash involved three passenger vehicles, a tractor-trailer and a second truck hauling three horses.

“We flew one patient out and transported five to Fort Leonard Wood’s hospital at this time,” Fraley said. “I don’t know the status of any of them besides the one who was critical and was flown out.”

No state patrol crash report was immediately available.

Missouri Department of Transportation personnel originally reported that the crash on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 would take about two hours to clear, but repeatedly extended their crash handling estimates. In the meantime, two additional crashes happened at Exit 159 in front of Meek’s Hardware at 3:48 p.m. and on the Exit 161 overpass slightly later as onlookers paused to see the trucks and smashed cars.

State troopers and local police redirected eastbound traffic from Exit 159 onto Old Route 66 and Highway Z through St. Robert to Exit 163, causing large traffic tie-ups on both Old Route 66 and Missouri Avenue as Fort Leonard Wood personnel left for the day. Traffic was allowed to pass on the I-44 shoulder by 5:24 p.m.

Two of the vehicles, a red Toyota and silver Chrysler 300 Tourino sustained massive rear-end damage. The semi truck landed in the median snarled in cables; information wasn’t immediately available on the disposition of the horse trailer and its horses.

Missouri Department of Transportation personnel and Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers conducted crash reconstruction and lanes remained intermittently closed until 7:03 p.m., with detours ending by 6:38 p.m. An ongoing roadway reconstruction project resumed after the crash was removed and traffic will continue to be restricted to a single lane overnight.

Jack’s Towing removed the vehicles. Other agencies assisting at the crash scene included Waynesville and St. Robert firefighters, St. Robert police, Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies, and Mark Twain REACT volunteers.

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