A man from Eldon, Missouri was killed last Sunday morning on U.S. Route 54 near Brazito in Cole County when he was hit head-on by a wrong way driver. Marta Vaca, 29, of Kingdom City, Missouri was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of Route 54 at approximately 2:33 a.m. on November 20, 2011 when the Dodge Ram pickup she was driving struck Larry Huston, 56, of Eldon coming west in a 2004 Ford Van.
Mr. Huston was not wearing a safety belt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Ms. Vaca ws transported to University Hospital in Columbia by helicopter ambulance with serious injuries. Her passenger, Jerry Friend of Fulton , was not wearing a seat belt and also suffered serious injuries in the crash. He was taken to Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, Missouri.
The accident happened approximately one half mile west of Route D. It was reported that the Jefferson City dispatch center had transmitted an alert to officers to investigate a report of a wrong-way driver on 54 just a few minutes before the crash occurred. Both westbound lanes were closed for roughly two hours following the accident, one lane was kept closed for several more hours as authorities continued their work at the scene.
On Friday, November 18th , three family members returning from a wedding in Rolla, were tragically killed on Highway 70 in Cooper County when Judy Titoch, 50 of Independence. Missouri slowed her car in the westbound driving lane of Interstate 70. Her vehicle was then struck from behind by a 2012 Kenworth tractor-trailer rig and caught fire. Also in the car was David Ritoch, 49 from Independence and Eileen Ritoch from Sweet Springs, Missouri. All three were pronounced dead at the scene by the Cooper County Coroner.
The driver of the semi, Dustin Wright, of Nobel, Illinois was not injured. No charges have been filed against Wright, but the accident is still under investigation.