Earlier today, a semi-truck crashed into a Nevada restaurant, leaving one
customer dead and three others injured. According to the Missouri Highway
Patrol, it happened along Highway 71 in Vernon County at around 5:15 p.m.
Authorities say a 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass pulled from a stop sign into
the path of the big rig, causing the semi-truck driver to swerve. The
truck struck the Cutlass, left the roadway, and
plowed through the wall and into the interior of the Quick Dine restaurant.
54 year-old Joseph Cole, a patron at the restaurant, was pronounced dead
at the scene. Two other customers - 72 year-old John Becker and 60 year-old
Roger Berning - were airlifted to Freeman Hospital with serious injuries.
A fourth patron - 47 year-old Pamela Hoover - suffered moderate injuries
and was taken to Nevada Regional Medical Center by ambulance. Several
other customers reportedly sustained minor injuries but declined treatment.
"A number of people either refused medical attention or said they
would see a doctor," State Trooper Jim Wilde told the
Nevada Daily Mail. "It's quite a mess at this point."
The driver of the Cutlass, 25 year-old Patrick Crews, and the driver of
the semi, 60 year-old Daniel Coffman, were uninjured in the collision.
Authorities do not believe alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash,
but they tested both drivers at the scene. Crews was cited for failure
to yield: law enforcement officials say he could be charged with additional
criminal offenses, pending an investigation of the crash.
The Quick Dine restaurant had operated from the same location in Nevada
for over 60 years.
Update, October 21: Travis Cole, Joseph Cole's son, told
KCTV 5 that his father was a daily customer at the restaurant and he always sat
in the exact same place. A Nevada police officer, Travis was off-duty
at the time of the collision: he learned of the incident when someone
called to ask if he was working the scene. "I just knew it. I knew
where [my father] sits in the diner and the truck was right through there,"
he said. Several Nevada residents have constructed a makeshift memorial
for Joseph Cole at the crash site.
In addition, the owner of the Quick Dine restaurant tells KOAM TV that
the building is damaged beyond repair. It will be demolished in the weeks
ahead, and the owner has not yet decided whether or not she will rebuild.
Facts about semi-truck accidents:
• In 2010, 3,413 people were killed in accidents involving commercial
trucks, according to the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
• Of these deaths, 72% were occupants of smaller passenger vehicles;
14% were truck occupants; and 13% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.
• The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Large Truck
Causation Study found that driver error was a leading cause of crashes
involving semis: "An action or inaction by the drivers of the truck
or the other vehicles involved were important reasons leading to crashes
in a large majority" of the crashes studied, the report says.
At Aaron Sachs and Associates, our personal injury lawyers serve clients
in Joplin, Missouri and throughout the surrounding areas. To contact our
office, please call 1-888-777-AUTO, or visit our website.
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