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story.lead_photo.caption Trees along Auxvasse Creek glisten Sunday evening under a coat of snow and ice. Freezing rain, snow and fog over the course of the weekend made driving conditions hazardous in many parts of the state. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol recorded four traffic fatalities over the New Year holiday weekend.

Two traffic fatalities occurred in the Troop D, Springfield, area; one traffic fatality occurred in each of the Troop H, St. Joseph, and Troop I, Rolla, areas.

In total, the MSHP investigated 458 traffic crashes, 97 of which involved injuries. Freezing rain, snow and fog over the course of the weekend made driving conditions hazardous in many parts of the state.

Troopers also found 135 intoxicated drivers.

In Callaway County, MSHP's Troop F reported one traffic accident. At about 10:40 a.m. Friday, Richard Smith, of Kirksville, was driving north on County Road 133 near County Road 132 when his vehicle travelled off the right side of the road and struck an embankment.

The 44-year-old Smith was uninjured, but his passenger, 31-year-old Mary Eells of Mexico, received moderate injuries. Neither Smith nor Eells were wearing seatbelts, according to the crash report. Eells was transported to University Hospital.

Smith's 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier received moderate damage.

Fatalities

One person died in a traffic crash during the counting period on Thursday.

Barbara J. Pitcock, 81, of Carthage, died when the vehicle in which she was a passenger traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a traffic control support post. After the impact, the vehicle rotated, overturned, and came to rest in the roadway. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Missouri Highway 171 at Interstate 49 in Carthage. Deputy Coroner Richard Rector pronounced Pitcock dead at the scene. Pitcock was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the vehicle sustained serious injuries in the crash; he was wearing a seat belt.

Two people died in traffic crashes on New Year's Day.

Scott L. Ford, 48, of Kansas City, died after the vehicle he was driving traveled southbound onto northbound Interstate 35 from the exit ramp at the 40-mile marker and struck another vehicle head-on. Both vehicles then came to rest in the middle of the northbound lanes of I-35. The crash occurred in Clinton County south of Lathrop. Clinton County Coroner Lee Hanks pronounced Ford dead at the scene. Ford was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the vehicle Ford's vehicle struck was wearing a seat belt; she did not sustain any injuries. Three juvenile passengers in the second vehicle sustained serious injuries; all of them were wearing seat belts. Clinton County Sheriff's Department and Clay County Sheriff's Department assisted at the scene.

Jerod R. Gerster, 21, of Nevada, died when the vehicle he was driving failed to negotiate a right-hand curve, ran off the left side of the roadway, and struck a tree. The crash occurred in Vernon County at Marmaduke Park in Nevada. He was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. EMT Dawn Best pronounced Gerster dead at the scene. A passenger in Gerster's vehicle sustained serious injuries; he was not wearing a seat belt.

One person died in a traffic crash on Saturday.

Danny E. Evans, 50, of Cuba, died after losing control of the vehicle he was driving on an ice-covered bridge. The vehicle then traveled off the right side of the roadway and overturned. The crash occurred in Crawford County on Interstate 44 at the 213-mile marker. Evans was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash; he was ejected from the vehicle. Dr. Melissa Bradley pronounced Evans deceased at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan. A passenger in the vehicle sustained moderate injuries in the crash; she was wearing a seat belt.

There were no traffic fatalities reported Sunday.

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