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Lengthy lane closures are typical after head-on collisions

In the aftermath of violent crashes, investigators could require several hours to sort out what happened and arrange for the site to be cleared of the wreckage. This means that travel could be restricted on the affected portions of Missouri highways. Motorists could be detoured for long periods after head-on collisions on the interstates since the speeds at which these accidents occur could cause an inordinate amount of devastation for investigators to sift through and clean up before the road can be reopened.

A section of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 was recently shut down for several hours. The Missouri Highway Patrol was called to the scene in the early morning hours of a recent Monday. Upon arrival, troopers found three wrecked vehicles. Preliminary reports indicate that two accidents actually occurred -- one involving a wrong-way driver, and the other involving an 18-wheeler that crashed into the wreckage from the first collision.

The first accident is said to have happened at approximately 3:07 a.m. when a pickup truck heading westbound in the eastbound lanes slammed into another pickup truck. About a minute later, the semi-truck came upon the scene and crashed into the wrong-way pickup truck. The 50-year-old driver of the eastbound pickup truck managed to escape with only minor injuries. However, the 24-year-old passenger in that vehicle suffered fatal injuries.

The 32-year-old driver of the wrong-way pickup truck suffered serious injuries and was flown to an area hospital where he remained at least report. It is not clear whether his injuries occurred in the first crash or the second one. The driver of the big rig was not injured.

Reports did not indicate whether criminal charges are being contemplated against the wrong-way driver. Regardless of what happens in the official investigation, the family of the deceased passenger retains the right to file a wrongful death claim against the wrong-way driver. If the evidence supports the contention that the victim's death was due to the negligence of another, the family might be awarded damages seen in other head-on collisions.

Source: ky3.com, "Wrong-way driver caused I-44 fatality crash near Strafford", Brett Onstott, Shayla Patrick, and Chris Replogle, July 11, 2016

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