A two-vehicle crash this afternoon in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 44 claimed the lives of three people and critically injured two others, according to the Joplin Police Department.

The names of the people involved have yet to be released pending notification of their families.

The accident took place about 2:55 p.m. within Joplin city limits at the 12.8-mile marker of I-44 near Prigmore Avenue. Both vehicles involved were eastbound, according to police.

The major crash team of the Joplin Police Department has responded to the scene. Police are asking that motorists in the area take alternate routes while I-44 is closed.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe. 

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