Local coach, radio sportscaster killed in motorcycle wreck Thursday night
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2009 11:30 am
Coach Donald Nelson's motorcycle was totaled Thursday night in a head-on wreck with a SUV.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (June 5, 2009) — St. Robert police have released the names of both drivers involved in a fatal head-on crash late Thursday night in front of the St. Robert Church of God.
The deceased driver is Donald E. Nelson, 54, of Waynesville, who was a longtime local educator and play-by-play radio sports announcer. Charges are pending against George H. Widener, 64, of Jerome, police said.
According to Sgt. Butch Hohman of the St. Robert Police Department, Pulaski County 911 dispatchers notified St. Robert police at 10:07 p.m. that a crash had just happened on Old Route 66. Officer Dan Wogan, one of the department’s most experienced officers, responded and reported that the crash appeared to be a fatality.
Air ambulance personnel were contacted but said initially they would have a 30 minute delay until they could arrive. St. Robert Fire Chief Chuck Fraley confirmed that dispatchers cancelled the air ambulance after determining it would not be needed.
According to Wogan’s report, Nelson had been westbound on a 2009 Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the passing lane entering a right-hand curve when Widener’s 2006 Chevrolet Avalanche was eastbound in the westbound lanes entering the same curve.
“It was apparent that Mr. Nelson did not see the approaching vehicle nor did Mr. Widener realize that he was traveling in the wrong direction when both vehicles collided head on,” according to Hohman.
Both vehicles ran off the north side of the roadway near the church after the crash, with the front end of Widener’s SUV demolished and the motorcycle lodged underneath. Widener’s airbag deployed and he was not hurt.
St. Robert firefighters assisted in traffic control and securing the scene. Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel were present and County Coroner Michael Hartness pronounced Nelson dead at the scene.
Nelson’s body was transported by Waynesville Memorial Chapel personnel. No obituary information was immediately available.
Both the SUV and the motorcycle were removed by Jack’s Towing and taken to the St. Robert Police Department for further investigation.