Crash sends semi across I-44, carries median guard cables into traffic lanes
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
State troopers wait while Jack's Towing clears a semi wreck.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Sept. 29, 2009) — Separate one-vehicle crashes on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning snarled traffic on two roads near Waynesville.
Tuesday morning’s crash could easily have been far worse. Tri-County firefighters from Richland and Hazelgreen firefighters responded to a report of an eastbound semi truck that had crashed through the median guard cables of Interstate 44 about six miles west of Waynesville, ran across two lanes of oncoming westbound traffic dragging cables across the interstate, ran off the north shoulder onto the north outer road, and was blocking outer road traffic west of Exit 150 at Route 7.
Capt. Ann Price of the Hazelgreen Rural Fire Protection District said she was told the truck, owned by Transport America out of Minneapolis, was carrying tens of thousands of pounds of rubber pellets when it ran off the roadway, carrying two sets of guard cables with it. Even though the cables didn’t keep the truck from crossing into oncoming traffic, it didn’t hit any vehicles and emergency personnel were able to keep the cables on the westbound lanes of traffic from causing more crashes. The cables may have prevented the semi truck from causing even more damage, however.
“They were still under the outriggers of the truck when we got here,” said Capt. Russell Hobbs of the Tri-County Rural Fire Protection District. “It was probably those cables being tied up that kept it from going all the way down the embankment.”
According to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports, William L. Baumgarte, 46, of Springfield, had been eastbound in his 2007 Freightliner semi truck at 8:50 a.m. Tuesday when he tried to avoid another vehicle, ran off the left side of Interstate 44, struck the median cables, crossed over the westbound lanes, and came to rest on the north outer road. Baumgarte, who had been wearing his seat belt, suffered moderate injuries and was transported by Pulaski County Ambulance District paramedics to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. His truck sustained only minor damage and was removed by Jack’s Towing.
Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies and personnel from the Missouri Department of Transportation commercial vehicle division also assisted at the crash scene, which shut down the north outer road for hours.
Monday afternoon’s crash was less serious but also blocked traffic.
Troopers reported that Billy J. Long, 33, of Crocker, had been southbound at 3:20 p.m. on Highway T about 3.5 miles north of Waynesville driving a 1999 Dodge pickup when he ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a ditch, causing extensive damage to his pickup but suffering only minor injuries himself.
Long, who had been wearing his seat belt, was transported to St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon by Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel. His pickup was removed by Jack’s Towing.
In an unrelated arrest, state troopers announced that they arrested Jason H. Roe, 29, of St. Louis, at 7:43 a.m. Tuesday in Pulaski County on three Jefferson County warrants for felony drunk driving and three misdemeanor parole violations, as well as for speeding and driving while his license was revoked. Troopers transported him to the Pulaski County Jail where he was not eligible for bond.