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Waynesville teacher among three seriously injured in Thursday wreck
Waynesville teacher among three seriously injured in Thursday wreck

St. Robert firefighters help clean up crash debris near the wreckage of Waynesville High School teacher Seth Sowers' car.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Aug. 21, 2009) — A Waynesville High School math teacher is in a Springfield hospital after suffering serious injuries in a Thursday afternoon crash on Interstate 44 just east of Exit 161.

Seth N. Sowers, 32, of Rolla had just begun his second year teaching Algebra II at Waynesville High School. He’s also well-known in the local area as the former sports editor of the Rolla Daily News and the son of former Rolla Daily News publisher Steve Sowers. His injuries were serious enough that he was airlifted by helicopter ambulance for emergency treatment.

According to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports, the crash happened at 3:20 p.m. when Dennis R. Glenn, 59, of Garfield, was eastbound in a construction zone and his 2009 Volvo tractor-trailer truck struck the rear end of a 1994 Toyota driven by Hannah E. Berg, 20, of Springfield, who had been slowing down in the work zone. That initial crash caused a chain reaction crash involving three more eastbound vehicles, a 2003 Toyota driven by Sowers, a 2008 Chrysler driven by Larry Turrentine, 49, of Cedar Hill, Texas, and a 1999 Ford pickup pulling a horse trailer driven by Billie J. Saebens, 20, of Peru, Kan.

Glenn, the driver of the semi truck, had been wearing his seat belt; his passenger, Jay D. Wright, 26, of Seymour, had not been wearing his seat belt. Both suffered moderate injuries and were transported by ambulance to Phelps County Regional Medical Center.

Berg suffered serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.

The occupants of the other three vehicles were all taken to hospitals outside the area. State troopers reported that they weren’t sure whether any of the victims other than the truck driver had been wearing their seat belts.

Sowers was airlifted to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield by air ambulance.

Larry Turrentine and one of his passengers, Cornelia B. Turrentine, 80, of Lawton, Mo., were taken to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield with moderate injuries; his other passenger, John Turrentine, 79, of Lawton, Okla., was seriously injured and flown to University Medical Center in Columbia by air ambulance.

Saebens, the horse trailer driver, was not hurt.

All five vehicles were removed by Jack’s Towing. The semi truck was extensively damaged and the pickup pulling the horse trailer was moderately damaged; the three cars were all totaled.

Other agencies assisting at the crash scene included Missouri Department of Transportation personnel, Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel, Waynesville and St. Robert firefighters, St. Robert police, Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies, and Mark Twain REACT volunteers.

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