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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Sullivan man killed in accident

  • A Sullivan man was killed in an accident early Saturday morning while traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 44 in Phelps County.
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  • A Sullivan man was killed in an accident early Saturday morning while traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 44 in Phelps County.
    According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, John E. O’Neal, 50, of Sullivan, was pronounced dead by Phelps County Deputy Coroner Lenox Jones at the scene of the crash at the 190.6 mile marker.
    His body was taken to the Phelps County Morgue.
    The accident occurred at 1:09 a.m. Saturday  when O’Neal was driving a 1991 Buick Century eastbound in the westbound interstate lane.
    A 2001 Freightliner driven by Orville J. Hess, 65, of Salem, Ill., was westbound on I-44, swerved off the right side of the highway in an attempt to avoid O’Neal’s car. The Buick struck the trailer of the Freightliner.
    A 2005 Freightliner, driven by Ranjit S. Pelia, 24, of Winton, Calif., also swerved to avoid the crash and drove off the right side of the road. All three vehicles overturned during the crash. O’Neal, who was not wearing his seat belt, was ejected.
    Pelia was transported to the Phelps County Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.
    It is unknown if Pelia was wearing a seat belt. Hess was wearing a seat belt, according to the patrol.
    The Buick and the 2001 Freightliner were both totaled.
    The 2005 Freightliner sustained moderate damage.
    This is the 35th fatality reported this year in Troop I of the MSHP, which covers Phelps and five other counties in south central Missouri.

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