Two unrelated crashes reported within five minutes of each other early Wednesday morning on two different highways in Phelps County resulted in three individuals being airlifted to a hospital in Columbia.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the first crash occurred around 3:05 a.m. on Highway BB, two miles west of St. James, when a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Phillip J. Sledge, 25, of Rolla, was traveling southbound when the vehicle traveled off the right side of the road.
Sledge overcorrected and the vehicle then ran off the left side of the road, struck a fence and overturned.
Sledge suffered moderate injuries. He was taken to Phelps County Regional Medical Center first and then transferred to University Medical Center in Columbia.
There was extensive damage to the Chevrolet. It was unknown if Sledge was wearing a seat belt.
Then, around 3:10 a.m. on Highway CC, four miles west of Rolla, an unrelated one-vehicle crash sent a Rolla woman and a Lecoma man to the same hospital in Columbia.
According to the patrol, Rachel D. Warren, 23, was a passenger in a 1997 Ford Ranger that was traveling east on Highway CC when it went off the left side of the road, struck an embankment and a tree. The vehicle then overturned.
Warren suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to University Medical Center in Columbia.
The driver of the vehicle, Robert L. Garn, 29, of Lecoma, suffered moderate injuries and was initially taken to PCRMC and then he also was airlifted to University Medical Center in Columbia.
The patrol stated that neither Warren nor Garn were wearing seat belts. The vehicle was totaled.