Missouri State Highway Patrol reports four traffic fatalities over New Year’s holiday weekend

Traffic Fatalities

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has released preliminary statistics related to the New Year’s holiday weekend:

Four people died in traffic crashes during the 78-hour counting period, which began at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 31, 2020, and ended at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, January 3, 2021.

2021 New Year’s Holiday Traffic Statistics

Troopers investigated the following:

Traffic Crashes — 458
Traffic Crash Injuries — 97
Traffic Crash Fatalities — 4
DWI — 135

Last year during the 30-hour New Year’s counting period, there were 323 traffic crashes statewide. In those crashes, one person was killed and another 140 were injured. During the 2020 New Year’s holiday, troopers arrested 58 people for driving while impaired.
There were no boating crashes or drownings over the 2021 New Year’s holiday counting period.

Two traffic fatalities occurred in the Troop D, Springfield, area; one traffic fatality occurred in each of the Troop H, St. Joseph, and Troop I, Rolla, areas.

One person died in a traffic crash during the counting period on December 31, 2020.

Barbara J. Pitcock, 81, of Carthage, MO, died when the vehicle in which she was a passenger traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck a traffic control support post. After the impact, the vehicle rotated, overturned, and came to rest in the roadway. The crash occurred in Jasper County on Missouri Highway 171 at Interstate 49 in Carthage, MO. Deputy Coroner Richard Rector pronounced Pitcock dead at the scene. Pitcock was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the vehicle sustained serious injuries in the crash; he was wearing a seat belt.

Two people died in traffic crashes on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2021.

Scott L. Ford, 48, of Kansas City, MO, died after the vehicle he was driving traveled southbound onto northbound Interstate 35 from the exit ramp at the 40-mile marker and struck another vehicle head-on. Both vehicles then came to rest in the middle of the northbound lanes of I-35. The crash occurred in Clinton County south of Lathrop, MO. Clinton County Coroner Lee Hanks pronounced Ford dead at the scene. Ford was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the vehicle Ford’s vehicle struck was wearing a seat belt; she did not sustain any injuries. Three juvenile passengers in the second vehicle sustained serious injuries; all of them were wearing seat belts. Clinton County Sheriff’s Department and Clay County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene.

Jerod R. Gerster, 21, of Nevada, MO, died when the vehicle he was driving failed to negotiate a right-hand curve, ran off the left side of the roadway, and struck a tree. The crash occurred in Vernon County at Marmaduke Park in Nevada. He was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. EMT Dawn Best pronounced Gerster dead at the scene. A passenger in Gerster’s vehicle sustained serious injuries; he was not wearing a seat belt.

One person died in a traffic crash on January 2, 2021.

Danny E. Evans, 50, of Cuba, MO, died after losing control of the vehicle he was driving on an ice-covered bridge. The vehicle then traveled off the right side of the roadway and overturned. The crash occurred in Crawford County on Interstate 44 at the 213-mile marker. Evans was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash; he was ejected from the vehicle. Dr. Melissa Bradley pronounced Evans deceased at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan, MO. A passenger in the vehicle sustained moderate injuries in the crash; she was wearing a seat belt.

There were no traffic fatalities reported on Sunday, January 3, 2021.

The fatality statistics in this news release could change if late deaths occur, or if other departments report fatal traffic crashes after this news release is sent out.