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Missouri State Highway Patrol reported eight deaths during the New Year’s holiday counting period from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1. Troopers investigated 486 traffic crashes with 147 injuries and seven fatalities. Troopers also made 124 arrests for driving while intoxicated. Lee’s Summit Police Department investigated one fatality.
Accidents and arrests are up from 2011, which may be due to snowy conditions New Year’s Eve. Six people died in road-related accidents last year during the holiday.
No injury accidents were reported in Ray County by the Highway Patrol. Richmond Police Chief Chad Burnine said officers “were out in force” New Year’s Eve; however the department had to field only one non-injury wreck. The accident occurred when a car driven by Lierin Wyatt, 19, of Camden, backed in a car driven by Dorris Smith, 77, of Richmond in the 800 block of Wollard Blvd. in Richmond. Burnine said there was minor damage to both vehicles.
Those who died in car accidents during the holiday include:
• Jo A. Gray, 56, of Villa Ridge, Mo., in Franklin County
• Ashlea R. Harper, 27, of Kirbyville, Mo., in Wright County
• Jessica M. Diehl, 34, of Sumner, Mo., in Chariton County
• Sawyer E. Jacobson, 3, of Kahoka, Mo., in Clark County
• Christopher M. Barnes, 35, of Shawnee, Kan., in Clay County on I-35
• Ray B. Hicks, 32, of Ava, in Douglas County, Mo.
• Timothy W. Elder, 60, of Kansas City, Mo., in Jackson County
• One victim’s name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification.