POPLAR BLUFF -- The Memorial Day holiday saw few accidents in both Missouri and Illinois, according to law enforcement agencies.
A dispatcher for the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E headquarters in Poplar Bluff, said Troop E saw only one fatality in New Madrid County and a few minor accidents throughout the district.
The fatal accident occurred at 4:15 p.m. Sunday on US Highway 61, three-
tenths of a mile east of I-55, westbound motorist Leon Gates, 46, of Sikeston crossed the center line and struck the vehicle driven by Anthony Turner, 43, of Kansas City head-on. Gates was ejected from his vehicle and his passenger, Ronnie King, 40, of New Madrid was partially ejected.
Gates, Turner and Turner's passenger, Tina N. Valentine, 30, of Kansas City were seriously injured and air evacuated to St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. King was taken to Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston, where he was pronounced dead at 5:57 p.m.
Statewide, according to the highway patrol's Web site, 12 motorists were killed on Missouri roads over the holiday weekend, beginning the count on Friday. The counting period ended at midnight Monday.
The only other Sikeston area accident occurred in Mississippi County on Monday. The accident occurred at 9:50 p.m., three miles south of Charleston, when Claudeen Russell, 58, of Bertrand failed to stop at the stop sign at Route UU at Highway D and skidded into a ditch.
Russell received serious injuries and was air evacuated to St. Francis Medical Center.
Only one accident occurred in the Cape Girardeau area when Amanda Edwards, 23, of Frohna lost control of her 1994 Ford at a curve on Route KK, 12 miles north of Jackson, at 10 p.m. Sunday. The vehicle struck a culvert and overturned. Edwards, 23, received minor injuries. She was taken to Saint Francis Medical Center for treatment.
Jerry Bussell, 37, of Cape Girardeau was injured in a two-car accident near Villa Ridge, Ill., at 10:59 p.m. Saturday on old U.S. 51 in Pulaski County. That accident killed the driver of the car Bussell was riding in.
According to the Illinois State Police, Richard Henry, 28, of Pulaski, Ill., lost control of his 2000 Pontiac while he was northbound on the highway. He is reported to have slid into the southbound lane and into the path of a 1998 Chrysler driven by Tammy Y. Smith, 32, also of Pulaski. Smith's car broadsided Henry's car, according to police. Her injuries were minor; Henry was killed.
Both Smith and Bussell were taken to Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. All involved were wearing seat belts.