Weekend wrecks kill one, injure four

Darrell Todd Maurina

PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (April 27, 2009) — Three weekend crashes hurt four area residents and killed one, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports.

The weekend’s worst wreck was a single-vehicle crash Sunday morning near Lynchburg in Laclede County, southwest of Fort Leonard Wood and just west of the Laclede-Texas county line. State troopers reported that Nicole M. Gembala, 20, of Fort Leonard Wood, had not been wearing her seatbelt when she was driving her 2002 Pontiac Grand Am southbound on Highway 95 about 1.2 miles south of Lynchburg, and at 10:49 a.m., ran off the right edge of the roadway in a curve, overcorrected, slid off the left side of the roadway and struck a tree.

Gembala was killed in the crash and pronounced dead on the scene by Assistant Laclede County Coroner Mike Noyes at 11:44 a.m.; troopers received assistance from the Gage County Sheriff’s Department in Nebraska in notifying her family of the death. Her passenger, Nicholas J. Lake, 24, of Waynesville, had been wearing his seatbelt and survived with serious injuries after being airlifted to Cox South Hospital in Springfield.

Gembala’s car was totaled and removed by Steve’s Towing of Lebanon.

Another crash outside Pulaski County on Sunday morning hurt a Waynesville woman and moderately damaged the pickup truck in which she had been a passenger.

Troopers reported that Andrew M. Nord, 22, of Waynesville, had been westbound on Interstate 44 in a 2003 Chevrolet pickup at 8:30 a.m. about three miles west of Northview when an semi truck with an unknown driver changed lanes and ran into Nord’s pickup.

Andrew Nord wasn’t hurt but his passenger, Amber N. Nord, 23, also of Waynesville, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield. The pickup was moderately damaged but still drivable; the semi truck left the scene continuing westbound and was not located.

Both Amber and Andrew Nord had been wearing their seat belts, troopers reported.

A third crash late Saturday evening on Highway 133 about four miles northeast of Richland near the junction of Highway BB totaled a 1995 Dodge Neon in a rollover wreck but caused only minor injuries to its two teenage occupants.

Troopers originally responded to a report of a rollover wreck with nobody around the vehicle, but eventually located the driver, Kayla R. Cantrell, 16, and her passenger, Taylor R. Thornsberry, 15, both of Crocker. Both had been wearing their seatbelts and were transported by Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel to Lake Regional Medical Center in Osage Beach for treatment.

According to the state patrol report, Cantrell had been southbound at 10:50 p.m. when she ran off the left side of the roadway, struck a ditch, and her car came to rest on its top off the roadway. The car was removed by Jack’s Towing.

In two unrelated incidents, troopers reported two recent arrests of out-of-state residents in Pulaski County within about an hour, one late Friday night and the other early Saturday morning:

• At 11:15 p.m. Friday, troopers arrested Amy M. Bowling, 28, of Elk Creek, on a felony warrant from Greene County for possession of a controlled substance. Bowling was transported to the Pulaski County Jail where she was eligible for bond.

At 12:20 a.m. Saturday, troopers arrested Thomas E. Stanton, 38, also of Elk Creek, on charges of driving while revoked and driving while intoxicated while being a prior offender. Stanton was transported to the Pulaski County Jail where he was subsequently released.

Click here to comment for local opinion