Traffic Crash On Interstate 44 in Franklin County Kills Two; Injures 55

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL
a division of the
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

Troop C Headquarters- 891 Technology Drive, Weldon Spring, MO 63304


NEWS RELEASE

For further information please contact: Corporal Jeff Wilson
636-300-2800 ext. 3334
C010153
August 6, 2010

EMPHASIS: Traffic Crash On Interstate 44 in Franklin County Kills Two; Injures 55


On August 5, 2010, at approximately 10:11 a.m., four vehicles were involved in a traffic crash on eastbound Interstate 44 near the 250.6-mile marker where two subjects were killed and 55 others were injured.

According to the investigation, the traffic crash occurred as a 2007 Volvo conventional tractor, operating without a trailer, was traveling east on Interstate 44 in the right lane of the two lane roadway. The driver, identified as Michael D. Crabtree, 43, of Kearneysville, WV, stopped in traffic due to a back up from a construction zone a mile east of his location. A second vehicle, a 2007 GMC Sierra pickup truck, was traveling eastbound behind the tractor when the driver, identified as Daniel A. Schatz, 19, of Sullivan, MO, failed to notice the stopped Volvo tractor. Impact first occurred as the front of the pickup struck the rear of the tractor, and then came to rest. At the same time, a 2003 Blue Bird school bus from the St. James School District, driven by Katherine P. Shackelford, 75, of St. James, MO, was approaching the two stopped vehicles. The second impact of this traffic crash occurred as the front of the bus made contact with the rear of the GMC pickup, pushing it on top of the Volvo tractor. At the same time, a second school bus, also from the St. James School District, a 2001 Blue Bird, driven by Kelly M. Mcennis-Mullenix, 38, of St. James, MO, impacted the rear of the first school bus. This impact caused the first bus to travel up and on top of the two other vehicles. All the vehicles then came to rest on the roadway.

During the incident, the two school buses were occupied by students from John F. Hodge High School, St. James School District, and were being transported to Six Flags in Eureka, MO. The first bus was occupied by 25 female students and chaperones. The second bus was occupied by 30 male students and chaperones.
After the traffic crash, the driver of the Volvo tractor, the two bus drivers, and 54 of the students were transported to local hospitals for treatment of injuries that ranged from minor to moderate. The driver of the GMC pickup, Daniel Schatz, 19, of Sullivan, MO, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:15 p.m. and a female student from the first bus, Jessica R. Brinker, 15, of St. James, MO, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:38 p.m., by Franklin County Medical Examiner's Office personnel.

The two school buses were owned and operated by Copeland Bus Services LLC of St. James, MO, and leased to the St. James School District.

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