Crash sends seven to hospital

John Hacker

A two-vehicle crash Saturday morning west of Oronogo sent seven people to Joplin hospitals.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Bryan said none of the injuries appeared life threatening, although one person was taken by helicopter to the hospital.

Five of the injured were children younger than 15, including a 3-year-old girl and two infants.

The injured were:

- The driver of a Chevy pickup, George L. Doubledee, 52, Oronogo

- The driver of a Pontiac minivan, Melissa A. Hannel, 34

- Hannel's five young passengers: Ashley D. Wiker, 15; Kayla N. Hannel, 13; Samantha L. Hannel, 3; Jorja P. Hannel, 1; and Jax P. Hannel, 1, all of Ozark.

Doubledee and Kayla Hannel were taken to Freeman West Hospital in Joplin, while the rest of the injured people were taken to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin.

 "The driver of the blue Pontiac minivan was eastbound at the stop sign here on 96," Bryan said. "The driver proceeded into the path of the northbound Chevy pickup and the minivan was hit broadside by the pickup."

The pickup hit the van in the passenger-side front door and passenger-side sliding door.

The impact caused both vehicles to spin and sent a trailer being pulled by the pickup into the ditch about 50 feet north of the intersection.

The van slid over a stop sign at the intersection, destroying the sign and mounting pole.

Bryan said the driver of the minivan was responsible for waiting and yielding to the pickup, and failed to do so.

Bryan said the Missouri Department of Transportation has installed a number of safety features at the intersection, including flashing red and yellow lights over the middle of the intersection, larger than normal signs and rumble strips on Missouri 43 to warn traffic that they were approaching a stop sign.

Carthage Press