Six people died in traffic crashes, three people died in boating crashes, and three people drowned during the 2014 July Fourth holiday counting period. The counting period began at 6 p.m., Thursday, July 3, 2014, and ended at 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 6, 2014. The Missouri State Highway Patrol worked 263 traffic crashes in which six people died and 121 were injured. Troopers arrested 142 people for driving while intoxicated. Troopers investigated 26 boating crashes which included three fatalities and 17 injuries, and arrested 13 for boating while intoxicated.
Last year, troopers worked 358 traffic crashes in which 157 were injured. There were 19 traffic fatalities during the 2013 July Fourth holiday. Troopers arrested 199 people for driving while intoxicated in 2013. Boating statistics for the 2013 July Fourth holiday included 19 boating crashes, one fatality, 13 injuries, three drownings, and 17 arrests for boating while intoxicated.
Of the six traffic crash fatalities investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, three occurred in the Troop A, Lee’s Summit, area; two occurred in the Troop C, Weldon Spring, area; and one occurred in the Troop H, St. Joseph, area.
Two traffic fatalities occurred on Thursday, July 3, 2014. Larry L. Berry, 65, of Hume, died when an oncoming vehicle crossed the center line and struck the vehicle he was driving. A passenger in Berry’s vehicle sustained minor injuries in the crash. Both Berry and the passenger were wearing a seat belt. The driver of the other vehicle sustained serious injuries; he was not wearing a seat belt. The crash occurred in Bates County, on Missouri Route A, south of SW County Road 14267. Dr. Mark Enyart pronounced Berry dead at Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott, KS. Bates County Sheriff’s Department, Bates County EMS, Rich Hill Fire Department, Hume First Responders, and Life Flight Eagle 2 responded to the scene.
Andrew J. Mathews, 39, of Plattsburg, died when the ATV he was driving traveled off the east side of the roadway. Mathews was ejected in the crash. Both Mathews and the vehicle came to rest off the roadway. Mathews was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. The crash occurred in Clinton County on Missouri Route Y in the city limits of Plattsburg. Clinton County Coroner Kathy Little pronounced Mathews dead at the scene. Plattsburg Police Department responded to the scene.
One traffic fatality occurred on July 4, 2014. Thomas S. Dmytryk, 62, of Wentzville, died when he attempted to cross the westbound lanes of Wentzville Parkway and was struck by a vehicle. The crash occurred in St. Charles County on Wentzville Parkway east of Meyer Road in a section of roadway that was not marked as a pedestrian crossing. Dr. Kopp pronounced Dmytryk dead at St. Joseph Health Center. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.
One boating fatality occurred on July 4, 2014. Justin A. Byrd, 30, of Englewood, Colo., died after falling off his vessel and into the water. His vessel was anchored with numerous other boats at the time of the incident, which occurred at the four mile-marker of the Grand Glaise Arm at Anderson Hollow Cove at the Lake Of The Ozarks. He was missing for approximately five minutes before others realized it. Byrd was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident.
Two drownings occurred on July 4, 2014. Joshua A. Washington, 18, of Republic, attempted to assist other subjects in the water and did not resurface. Washington was not wearing a life jacket. The drowning occurred in Stone County at Point 12 of Table Rock Lake. Stone County Assistant Coroner John Cunningham pronounced Washington dead at the scene.
Gary K. Gilbert, 81, of Cape Girardeau, drowned when he was wading across the Castor River and lost his balance. His body was located in a root wad. Gilbert was not wearing a life jacket. Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch pronounced Gilbert dead at the scene. The drowning occurred in Wayne County on the Castor River five miles south of Missouri Highway 34 at a private residence.
Two traffic fatalities occurred on July 5, 2014. Mark F. Harken, 20, of Prairie Village, Kan., and Clayton W. Miller, 18, of Kansas City, died when Harken lost control of the vehicle he was driving. The vehicle traveled off the left side of the roadway, struck a group of trees, and overturned before coming to rest on its top. The crash occurred in Benton County on County Road SE 1301 south of Missouri Highway 7. In the vehicle with Harken and Miller were four additional passengers. All four sustained serious injuries; one of the four was ejected. It is unknown whether or not Harken or Miller were wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. One of the passengers was wearing a seat belt; one passenger was not wearing a seat belt. It is unknown whether or not the remaining two passengers were wearing a seat belt.
Two boating fatalities occurred on July 5, 2014. Larry L. Hennier, 48, of Rich Fountain, and Mary C. Talken, 25, of Jefferson City, died when the boat in which they were passengers was traveling through a narrow passage on the Gasconade River and struck a second boat nearly head on. Dr. J. Blackburn pronounced Talken dead at Capital Region Hospital. Dr. P. Hu pronounced Hennier dead at University Hospital. Neither of the two drivers and none of the four passengers in one of the boats were wearing a life jacket at the time of the crash. One driver and one passenger sustained serious injuries; one driver and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The crash occurred in Osage County one mile downstream from The Paradise Lane on the Gasconade River.
One person drowned on July 5, 2014. Wayne E. Feeler, age unknown, of Rolla, died when he attempted to retrieve a small boat that had drifted out of reach. Feeler disappeared beneath the surface and could not be located immediately. Feeler was not wearing a life jacket. The drowning occurred in Maries County on private property adjacent to Maries County Road 518. Maries County Coroner Leo Kloeppel pronounced Feeler dead at the scene.
One traffic fatality occurred on July 6, 2014. Franklin L. Whited, 73, of St. Clair, died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a ditch. The vehicle overturned and came to rest upright. Whitehead was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. The traffic crash occurred in Franklin County on Missouri Highway 47 north of College Road. Two passengers in the vehicle sustained serious injuries; both were wearing a seat belt. Emergency personnel pronounced Whited dead at the scene.
NOTE: The fatality statistics in this news release could change if late deaths occur, if other departments report fatal traffic crashes after this news release was sent out, or if a fatality is determined to be caused by a medical condition rather than a traffic incident.