ST. LOUIS – The Missouri State Highway Patrol says nine people were killed in traffic crashes over the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday. State police also reported a 48.9% increase in crashes from the year prior.

According to the MSHP, the Thanksgiving counting period runs from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24 to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28. No boating crashes or drownings were reported over that timeframe.

State troopers recorded the following preliminary traffic incidents across the state over the holiday:

  • Crashes – 457
  • Injuries – 114
  • Fatalities – 9
  • DWI – 125
  • Drug arrests – 72

Troopers reported three fatalities in the Lee’s Summit area and one each in the Poplar Bluff, Willow Springs, and St. Joseph areas. The remaining three deaths occurred in Troop C, which covers the St. Louis area.

That accident happened Sunday just after 6 p.m. on Interstate 270 and Pershall Road.

According to state troopers, two men and a woman were traveling eastbound when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The car struck two SUVs before flying off the highway, rolling over, and striking a fence along Pershall Road.

The driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old Kenrick Smalling, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two passengers, identified as 21-year-old Aliyah Tatum and 24-year-old Dion Martin, died later at area hospitals. State police reported they were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.

The driver in the first SUV Smalling’s car struck suffered moderate injuries. She was wearing a seatbelt. Three people in the other SUV, including a 7- and 13-year-old, suffered only minor injuries. The driver of that second SUV was not injured. They were all wearing seatbelts.

During the 2020 Thanksgiving break, state police investigated 307 traffic crashes, which resulted in 10 fatalities and 370 injuries.