An 18 vehicle pile up on Labor Day in Southeast Missouri left 26 people injured, some seriously, according to a the crash report issued by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The accident occurred around noon close to Essex and Dexter, MO. According to the report, the accident occurred on the eastbound lanes of US 60 after it became covered with smoke from a field fire, causing a chain reaction accident.
Twenty individuals were taken by ambulance to local hospitals in Dexter, Poplar Bluff and Sikeston. Three of the more seriously injured were evacuated by air to trauma centers in Memphis, TN and St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Emergency personnel from Stoddard County, South Scott County and New Madrid County attended to the scene.
State troopers relayed that a farmer was apparently burning trash and accidentally caught a field on fire, creating the thick smoke. The smoke drifted over the highway causing 2 or 3 cars to crash into one another, leading to the chain reaction. David Cooper, Director of the Stoddard County Ambulance District, was reported in the Southeast Missourian to have referred to the crash as “probably one of the worst accidents we’ve had in this part of the county in several years.”
Only two people needed to be extricated from a vehicle, all the others were either out on arrival or ejected, according to ambulance personnel.
In an unrelated accident, also in Southeast Missouri near Steele, Mo, three individuals from Arkansas, including two children were killed Friday afternoon on MO 164 at Missouri Route NN in Pemiscot County. Five individuals were traveling in a car driven by Letisha Ward when they collided with a Freightliner tractor trailer driven by Ricky Winkle of Hornerville, Missouri.