A total of four people died statewide in traffic crashes during the 2021 New Year's counting period.
According to preliminary statistics for the 78-hour counting period provided by superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Colonel Eric Olson, troopers responded to 458 crashes with 97 injuries and four fatalities statewide.
Troopers also made a total of 135 arrests for driving while intoxicated, during the 2021 New Year’s counting period.
Last year during the 30-hour New Year’s counting period, there were 323 traffic crashes statewide. In those crashes, one person was killed and another 140 were injured. During the 2020 New Year’s holiday, troopers arrested 58 people for driving while impaired.
The patrol reported no boating crashes or drownings over the 2021 New Year’s holiday counting period, which began at 6 p.m. Thursday and ended 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Meanwhile, the highway patrol reported two traffic fatalities occurred in the Troop D, Springfield, area, and one traffic fatality occurred in each of the Troop H, St. Joseph, and Troop I, Rolla, areas.
One person died in a traffic crash during the counting period on Thursday.
The highway patrol reports that Barbara Pitcock, 81, of Carthage, died when the vehicle in which she was a passenger traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a traffic control support post. After the impact, the vehicle rotated, overturned, and came to rest in the roadway. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Missouri Highway 171 at Interstate 49 in Carthage. Deputy Coroner Richard Rector pronounced Pitcock dead at the scene. Pitcock was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the vehicle sustained serious injuries in the crash; he was wearing a seat belt.
Two people died in traffic crashes on New Year’s Day.
According to the highway patrol, Scott Ford, 48, of Kansas City, died after the vehicle he was driving traveled southbound onto northbound Interstate 35 from the exit ramp at the 40-mile marker and struck another vehicle head-on. Both vehicles then came to rest in the middle of the northbound lanes of I-35. The crash occurred in Clinton County south of Lathrop. Clinton County Coroner Lee Hanks pronounced Ford dead at the scene. Ford was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the vehicle Ford’s vehicle struck was wearing a seat belt; she did not sustain any injuries. Three juvenile passengers in the second vehicle sustained serious injuries; all of them were wearing seat belts. Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and Clay County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene.
The highway patrol reports that Jerod R. Gerster, 21, of Nevada, died on New Year’s Day when the vehicle he was driving failed to negotiate a right-hand curve, ran off the left side of the roadway, and struck a tree. The crash occurred in Vernon County at Marmaduke Park in Nevada. He was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. EMT Dawn Best pronounced Gerster dead at the scene. A passenger in Gerster’s vehicle sustained serious injuries; he was not wearing a seat belt.
One person died in a traffic crash on Saturday.
According to the highway patrol, Danny Evans, 50, of Cuba, died after losing control of the vehicle he was driving on an ice-covered bridge. The vehicle then traveled off the right side of the roadway and overturned. The crash occurred in Crawford County on Interstate 44 at the 213-mile marker. Evans was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash; he was ejected from the vehicle. Dr. Melissa Bradley pronounced Evans deceased at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan. A passenger in the vehicle sustained moderate injuries in the crash; she was wearing a seat belt.
There were no traffic fatalities reported on Sunday.
NOTE: The fatality statistics could change if late deaths occur, or if other departments report fatal traffic crashes after this news release is sent out.