COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol recorded six people died in crashes over the holiday weekend.
From 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23 to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26, the patrol investigated 260 traffic crashes including 86 injuries and the six fatalities. Three deaths happened in a single incident in Springfield; one fatality occurred in each of the Macon, Popular Bluff and Willow Springs areas
MSHP reports the state recorded a total of 626 traffic fatalities from Jan. 15 to Dec. 27, 2016. During the holiday weekend, the Patrol investigated 260 traffic crashes resulting in 86 injuries.
During last year's counting period, the Patrol reported there were 282 crashes, 78 injuries and two deaths. But overall traffic fatalities have declined since last year. In 2015, the Missouri Department of Transportation recorded 853 traffic deaths.
This year, Troopers arrested 68 people for driving impaired and made 40 drug arrests during the holiday counting period.
Three fatalities occurred in the Troop D, Springfield area; One fatality each occurred in the Troop B, the north-east region; Troop E, the Poplar Bluff area; and in the Troop G, the south-central area.
Below are the six people who died in holiday crashes:
- Nicholas A. Thomas, 37, of Ozark.
- Dustin T. Emmett, 32, of Springfield.
- Brooke J. Summers, 27, of Salisbury.
- Stephanie N. Price, 30, of West Plains.
- Donald R. Hearlson, 80, of Marshfield.
- Martin Lenwood, 65, of Joaquin, Texas.
The deaths remind drivers to be careful on the roads during the holidays.
MoDOT has a few tips to keep drivers and passengers safe.
- Check road conditions before you head out.
- If you don't feel comfortable driving, pull over somewhere safe and wait for conditions to get better.
- Slow down and match your speed to the weather conditions.
- Buckle up - MoDOT reports only 80 percent of Missouri drivers wear their seat belt. That is below the national average.