2 Injured near Utica in accident; authorities almost struck by passing motorist during investigation

Traffic accident

Drivers of two vehicles were injured this morning in an accident at Utica.

The highway patrol said 23-year-old Cody Ward of St. Joseph received moderate injuries, and 27-year-old Danielle Lopez of Utica sustained minor injuries. Both were taken by ambulance to Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe.

It was 7:30 this morning when according to the highway patrol, a car driven by Ms. Lopez made a left turn onto U.S. 36, allegedly failing to yield to an eastbound car driven by Ward. The Ward vehicle hit the rear of the car driven by Ms. Lopez.

After impact, the patrol said Ward’s car traveled off the north side of the highway, into the median. The Lopez vehicle skidded off the south side of the road. Both remained upright. Damages included Ward’s car being totaled while Ms. Lopez’s car sustained extensive damage. Both drivers were using seat belts.

Two Livingston county sheriff’s deputies were assisting at the scene with a Missouri State Trooper. The officers had emergency lights activated and were wearing their traffic safety vests when an eastbound car, driving the speed limit, quickly approached their position. Sheriff Steve Cox said the driver did not properly react to the situation and nearly struck the deputies, trooper, and highway patrol vehicle.

Cox noted the motorist was able to make a last second reaction that prevented the situation from being much worse. A deputy stopped and ticketed the motorist who was returning home after working night shift and reported being tired.