MSHP reminds drivers to be aware of road conditions, drive slow

Icy road conditions on Interstate 44 near Buckhorn caused six vehicle accidents within six minutes on Sunday, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The series of accidents started on the westbound side of I-44, just four miles west of Buckhorn, at 11:45 a.m. Sunday after traffic came to a stop because of a previous accident and a 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer slid on ice while trying to stop.

The tractor-trailer then hit a 2008 Dodge Ram. Both the driver and the passenger of the Dodge pickup sustained minor injuries while the driver of the tractor-trailer was uninjured.

Three minutes later, a separate 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer lost control on the ice-covered highway, traveled off of the road and struck a guardrail. The driver suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Mercy Hospital in Lebanon to be treated.

Two minutes after that crash, a 2008 Toyota Tacoma slid on the ice in the westbound lanes of I-44 and hit a 2012 GMC Arcadia. The drivers of both vehicles sustained minor injuries and were taken to Mercy Hospital in Lebanon for treatment.

At 11:50 a.m., a 2007 International truck, a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan and a 2012 International tractor-trailer were stopped in traffic due to the previous crashes. The 2007 International truck hit the Caravan, sending the Caravan partially off of the road and causing the tractor-trailer and the truck to collide. The driver and passenger of the tractor-trailer sustained minor injures and were taken to Phelps County Regional Medical Center for treatment.

At the same time, 4.5 miles from Waynesville on I-44, eight vehicles were involved in a chain reaction collision. As traffic was coming to a stop, a 2014 Freightliner tractor-trailer failed to stop and struck a 2007 Honda Fit, a 2003 Ford Expedition, a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox, a 2007 Ford F-150, a 2011 Nissan Altima and a 1998 Freightliner tractor-trailer.

The Expedition and Equinox were sent into the median cables. The Nissan Altima and 1998 Freightliner were sent to the embankment of the right side of the road.

The Honda Fit then struck the Ford Expedition. The Ford Expedition then struck a 2002 Ford Escort.

Only one person was injured from the eight-vehicle crash. The driver of the 1998 Freightliner suffered minor injuries and was taken to Mercy Hospital in Lebanon for treatment.

Finally, at 11:51 pm., four miles west of Waynesville, a 2004 Honda failed to stop and struck a 2012 GMC Arcadia that was stopped in traffic due to the previous crashes.

The driver of the GMC was taken to Mercy Hospital in Lebanon with minor injuries.

Only three of the 20 people involved in the accidents were from Pulaski County and three people were from Phelps County.

Sgt. Dan Crain, public information and education officer for MSHP Troop I, said that icy road conditions and vehicles traveling too fast for the conditions were large contributors to the accidents.

"[The drivers involved] could have been traveling well under the speed limit, but you still are expected to take control of your vehicle, no matter what the conditions are," Crain said.

Crain said that ice formed fairly quickly on Sunday, and it is important to be aware of how fast the weather can change. Crain said it's important during the winter season especially to be aware of the weather conditions and drive accordingly.

"Slow down and always re-evaluate whether or not you have to make that trip," Crain said. "Unless it falls under the totally necessary category, then the best course of action is to stay at home."

There were no major injuries in all six of the accidents.