Latest highway patrol figures show fewer fatalities but more DWI arrests during holiday period

It’s a case of good news and bad news for the Thanksgiving holiday season across Missouri.

Highway Patrol said the number of traffic accidents, injuries and fatalities were down with nine people statewide killed and 114 others injured in 457 crashes.

Those figures compare to 12 people killed and 379 others injured in more than 11 hundred crashes last year.

The bad news, however, is that the number of DWI arrests has increased this year with 125 people taken care of compared to 99 during the 2020 vacation period.

Here in the lake area there have been two accidents, one with serious injuries, and eight arrests… five for impaired driving.

No incidents have been reported on the state’s waterways.

****Full report:

November 29, 2021
Focus: Patrol reports nine deaths; No drownings or boating accidents during Thanksgiving Holiday 2021

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that nine people died in traffic crashes during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday tally, from Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. to Sunday, November 28, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. There were no boating accidents or drownings.

During the Thanksgiving holiday tally, Soldiers report the following traffic statistics for 2021 (preliminary):

Crashes ?? 457
Injuries ?? 114
Death ?? 9
CFA 125
Drug-related arrests ─ 72

[During the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday counting period, troopers investigated 307 traffic crashes, which included 10 fatalities and 86 injuries. Statewide, 12 people died and 379 people were injured in 1,166 traffic crashes over last year’s Thanksgiving holiday. Troopers arrested 99 people for driving while intoxicated during the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday counting period.]

The soldiers investigated the nine fatal traffic accidents. Three of the fatalities occurred in Troop C area, Weldon Spring, MO; three deaths occurred in Troop A, Lee’s Summit, MO, region; and one fatality has occurred in each of the Troop E, Poplar Bluff, MO, Troop G, Willow Springs, MO, and Troop H, St. Joseph, MO areas.

Three people died on Friday, November 26, 2021. Rita J. Overstreet, 59, of Doniphan, MO, died when she entered the path of another vehicle. Overstreet was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, which occurred in Butler County on US Highway 67 to Country Road 323. Dr Guthikonda said Overstreet died at Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center . A passenger in the Overstreet vehicle was seriously injured in the crash. She was not wearing a seat belt. The driver and passenger of the other vehicle were seriously injured in the accident. Neither of them wore seat belts.

Jerry W. Cantrell, 77, and Delores J. Cantrell, 77, both of Independence, MO, died when the vehicle Jerry was driving crossed Missouri Highway 291 on the way to another vehicle. Both wore seat belts. Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office investigator Lauren Hoff said both Cantrells died at the scene. The accident occurred in Jackson County on Missouri Highway 291 to Cement City Road. The driver of the other vehicle was seriously injured in the accident. He was not wearing a seat belt.

Two people died in traffic accidents on Saturday, November 27, 2021. Bradley A. Collins, 62, of Spickard, MO, died when the motorcycle he was riding failed to negotiate a bend and crossed the center line, off the roadway, and hit an embankment. The motorcycle then came to rest on its side on the railroad tracks. Collins was not wearing a helmet and was ejected. The accident occurred in Grundy County on Route C from Missouri to Spickard. Assistant Coroner Steve Tracy said Collins died at the crash scene.

A 13-year-old girl from Cabool, MO died when the vehicle she was a passenger in left the right side of the road, overturned and struck a fence. She was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. The accident occurred in Texas County on the Missouri Highway 181, two miles south of Cabool, MO. Texas County Deputy Chief Rowdy Douglas said the passenger died at the scene. The driver, 14, and a second passenger, 13, also from Cabool, suffered serious and minor injuries, respectively. Neither was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Four people died in traffic accidents on Sunday, November 28, 2021. Vatina A. Gillespie, 52, of Kingsville, MO, died when she began to overtake one vehicle and hit another vehicle head-on. She was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, which occurred in Johnson County on Missouri Hwy 58, a mile north of Missouri’s F Hwy. Johnson County Coroner Clark Holdren said Gillespie died at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle was slightly injured. He was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

A triple fatality traffic accident claimed the lives of Aliyah R. Tatum, 21, of Florissant, MO, Dion Martin, 24, of St. Louis, MO, and Kenrick G. Smalling, 24, of St Louis, MO. The vehicle Smalling was driving was traveling too fast for the conditions and he lost control. The vehicle began to slide, struck the left side of another vehicle, continued to slide, and struck a second vehicle. Smalling’s vehicle then pulled off the right side of the road, began to roll, and struck a chain link fence. Neither Smalling nor his passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. The accident occurred in St. Louis County on Interstate 270 west of West Florissant Road. A member of the Ferguson Fire Department declared Smalling dead at the scene of the crash. Dr Muller said Martin died at Christian Hospital Northeast. Dr Christensen has declared Tatum dead at SSM DePaul Hospital. The driver of the first vehicle that Smalling’s vehicle struck suffered moderate injuries in the accident; she was wearing a seat belt. Three passengers in this vehicle sustained minor injuries; all wore seat belts. The driver of the second vehicle struck by Smalling’s vehicle was not injured; he was wearing a seat belt.

There were no boating accidents, no boating-related fatalities, no drowning and no boating, while intoxicated arrests were reported during the tally period. Thanksgiving holiday 2021.

NOTE: Death statistics in this press release may change if late deaths occur or if other departments report fatal traffic accidents after the release of this press release.

Follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPtrooperGHQ

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