Highway patrol announces nine traffic deaths over holiday weekend

5 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, December 26 2018 Dec 26, 2018 Wednesday, December 26, 2018 11:56:00 AM CST December 26, 2018 in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director

COLUMBIA - Nine people died in traffic crashes in Missouri over the Christmas holiday weekend this year, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Another 80 were injured in the nearly 300 crashes around the state.

Christmas day was crash-free.

Below is the statement from MSHP outlining the details of the various fatalities.

Three fatalities occurred in the Troop A, Lee's Summit, area; two of the fatalities occurred in each of the Troop C, Weldon Spring, and Troop H, St. Joseph, areas; and one fatality occurred in each of the Troop D, Springfield, and Troop I, Rolla, areas.

One traffic crash fatality occurred on Friday, December 21, 2018. Brett L. Bruenn, 17, of La Russell, MO, died when the driver of the vehicle in which he was a passenger went off the left side of the roadway and overturned. Bruenn was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected in the crash. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Missouri Route U north of Sarcoxie, MO. The driver of the vehicle was wearing a seat belt and was not injured. A second passenger was wearing a seat belt and sustained minor injuries in the crash. Jasper County Deputy Coroner Mike Woodward pronounced Bruenn dead at the scene. 

Five people died in traffic crashes on Saturday, December 22, 2018. Correna S. Masters, 57, of Kearney, MO, died when the vehicle in which she was a passenger traveled off the east side of the roadway, drove down an embankment, and crashed into the north bank of Shoal Creek. The vehicle came to rest on its wheels in the creek. Masters was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and sustained serious injuries. The crash occurred in Clinton County on Interstate 35 northbound at the 48.8-mile marker south of Cameron, MO. Clinton County Coroner Lee Hanks pronounced Masters dead at the scene of the crash. Clinton County Sheriff’s Office and Cameron Fire and Rescue personnel also responded to the scene. 

Preston T. Strittmatter, 44, of Villa Ridge, MO, died when the vehicle he was driving failed to negotiate an approaching curve and crossed the center of the roadway. The right side of Strittmatter’s vehicle struck the front of a second vehicle. Strittmatter was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the second vehicle and two passengers were all wearing their seat belts; all sustained minor injuries. The crash occurred in Franklin County on St. Louis Rock Road east of Lakeshore Drive. Dr. Scarato pronounced Strittmatter deceased at Mercy Hospital in Washington, MO. 

The remaining three fatalities occurred as the result of a two-vehicle crash in the Blue Springs, MO, area. The crash is being investigated by the Blue Springs Police Department. The Patrol’s Major Crash Investigation Team 1 is assisting.

One person died in a traffic crash on Sunday, December 23, 2018. Thomas L. San Roman, 70, of Lenox, MO, died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. Roman was not wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in Dent County on Missouri Highway H west of Salem, MO. Dent County Coroner Gina White pronounced Roman dead at the scene.

Two people died in traffic crashes on Monday, December 24, 2018. Edward R. Gault, 80, of Kansas City, KS, died when the vehicle he was driving crested a hill at a high rate of speed, became airborne, then traveled off the north side of the roadway. The vehicle continued down a ditch, struck and embankment, became airborne a second time, then overturned onto its top off the north side of Missouri Highway 190. Gault was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. A passenger in Gault’s vehicle was wearing a seat belt; he sustained serious injuries. The crash occurred in Livingston County on Missouri Highway 190 west of Chillicothe, MO. Livingston Coroner Scott Lindley pronounced Gault dead at the scene. Livingston County Sheriff’s Department personnel also responded to the scene.

Lee E. Schickendanz, 44, of Colorado Springs, CO, died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the left side of the roadway, traveled down an embankment, overturned, and caught fire. It is unknown whether Schickendanz was wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in Franklin County on Missouri Route VV near Missouri Highway 100. Dr. Falch pronounced Schickendanz deceased at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, MO.

For comparison, during last year's Christmas travel holiday, there were 491 traffic crashes and seven fatalities.

In addition to traffic crashes, MSHP monitors the number of people charged with driving while intoxicated. This year that was 106.

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