Deadly Highway 61 crash victims identified

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 2:28 AM CDT
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MARION COUNTY, MO (WGEM) - A trooper with the Missouri Highway Patrol said one person is dead, and another had to be flown to University Hospital in Columbia following a head-on collision on Highway 61 late Tuesday night.

Troopers said it happened five miles north of Palmyra, Missouri, around 11:35 p.m.. They said Lori Cumpston, 51, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, died at the scene. They said an unidentified 17-year-old from Palmyra was airlifted to University Hospital with serious injuries.

Troopers said it’s unknown whether either were wearing safety devices.

Palmyra’s Fire Chief Gary Crane said they arrived on scene at about 11:38 p.m. and found a car engulfed in flames with a body inside.

“Nobody could get around them with the big truck so we turned and we went in the other lane, in the northbound lane, ran ahead and stopped and stopped all the traffic so we actually had to come the wrong way down the highway then come back in behind this vehicle to attack the fire” Crane said.

MSHP troopers said the crash is still under investigation.

“Right now we don’t know why this person was driving the wrong way but a lot of wrong way driver do happen in the night time, maybe they are not seeing the other lanes whenever they turn,” trooper James Johnson said.

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