The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 24, 2006

Police reports

From staff reports

Three people die in two-vehicle crash in Newton County

Three Afton, Okla., people were killed in a two-vehicle accident late Friday on Interstate 44, west of Joplin in Newton County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The bodies of Russell C. Gregson, 21, one of the drivers, and two passengers, Nocole E. Turner, 19, and Keri L. Hopper, 16, were taken to Chappel Crematory in Webb City, the patrol said. Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges pronounced the three dead at 10:07 p.m. Friday, the patrol said.

Steven A. Creson, 37, of Eureka, Ill., was the other driver.

The westbound Gregson crossed the median and struck the eastbound Creson tractor-trailer in the side, the patrol said. After impact, the semi overturned. Both vehicles caught fire and burned.

"I've done this 31 years and it ranks in the top few of the worst accidents I've been involved with," said the Newton County Coroner Bridges.

Bridges added: "It was such a violent force of impact it caused internal injuries on all of them. I can't see any of them living past the impact."

Bridges said the patrol crash team came to investigate the accident.

A Joplin man suffered moderate injuries in a one-vehicle accident at 11:40 p.m. Friday on Missouri 43, five miles south of Joplin in Newton County, the patrol said.

Injured was Mark L. Walker, 20, a passenger in a vehicle driven by Frank J. Wattelet, 19, both of Joplin. Walker was taken to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin.

The Wattelet vehicle ran off the road and overturned, the patrol said.

A Fair Play teenager suffered serious injuries in a two-vehicle accident at 7:15 p.m. Friday on Route H, six miles north of Greenfield in Dade County, the patrol said.

Injured was Evan E. Hensley, 17, a passenger in a vehicle driven by Joshua B. Sicard, 17, also of Fair Play.

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