SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – More troopers will be on the roads as the Missouri State Highway Patrol prepares for a busy holiday weekend. It comes as Troop D, which serves 18 counties in Southwest Missouri, responded to six traffic deaths since November 12.
“We see historically an uptick in fatality crashes this time of year heading into the holiday season,” Sergeant Mike McClure with Highway Patrol Troop D said.
The crashes in the last eight days are spread across Troop D’s coverage area in Dallas, Jasper, Hickory, and Greene county. The latest crash happened on Sunday morning five miles south of Buffalo. Kevin Van Nostrand and Melody Thomas, both from Long Lane, died in the crash.
“My heart and feelings and prayers go out to the family. You know, Kevin’s a father, a brother and uncle,” Ronnie Garrett said. He’s known Kevin, along with his twin brother Ken for decades.
Kevin’s twin brother Ken along with Kevin’s nephew were also involved in the crash.
“During the investigation of that particular crash, apparently nobody was still contained in the passenger compartment post crash, which indicates ejection for all occupants, including the driver,” McClure said. “We can speculate that that either the safety devices were not properly worn or not worn at all. It’s going to be up to a reconstruction is to determine that in the final report.”
Ken and his son were taken to Mercy hospital in Springfield for serious injuries.
“It’s a tough situation no matter how you look at it,” Garrett said. “here are very few people that have ever come out of Dallas County that were as headstrong and as physically strong as [Kevin and Ken].”
The highway patrol said with the holidays just around the corner and more people traveling, the chances for deadly crashes go up.
“We’re going to have more traffic on the roadways, particularly on the bookends, Wednesday, maybe early Thursday, and then again Sunday when people are heading back home and and starting life again,” McClure said. “Highway patrol will modify schedules to meet the demands of the traffic and to the motorist, being visible and making sure state laws are being enforced and complied with.”
An effort to keep deaths down and drivers safe.
“I just hope that there’s something positive [that] comes from this meaning people are a little more aware of what’s truly going on around them,” Garrett said.
There was also a deadly motorcycle crash in Webster County and a pedestrian crash in Springfield last week, but those were investigated by local law enforcement.