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3 Killed, 5 Critical after SUV Plunges into Freezing River

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Monday, February 7, 2011

Hours after a huge snowstorm that blanketed much of the country, an SUV carrying eight mushroom pickers from Missouri slid off a bridge and through the ice of the Spring River. Three of the people in the SUV died of hypothermia at the scene, and the other five people were in critical condition as of Friday.

According to the Associated Press, the accident occurred early in the morning of February 3. The eight victims were residents of Carthage, Missouri, and worked at a mushroom farm near Miami, Oklahoma, 40 miles away. Due to the snowstorm, the farm had been shut down on February 2, but reopened the next day. The SUV was driving on Interstate 44 and reached a bridge spanning the Spring River in northeast Oklahoma. On the bridge, the SUV slipped on a patch of ice and slid off the road, crashing head-first through the ice and into the waist-deep water.

The driver, a 31-year-old man and the front passenger, a 37-year-old woman, were trapped inside the SUV. They died in the freezing water, a Highway Patrol report said. The other six managed to exit the vehicle and climb onto its rear, which stuck up through the ice. One of the six, a 21-year-old man, fell into the water as he reached for a rope dangled by rescuers. He later died of hypothermia. The other three were taken to St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, where they were listed in critical condition due to hypothermia.

The air temperature the day of the accident was ten below zero, and the roads were still slick with ice, the AP article said. The Highway patrol report blamed the driver for causing the accident by driving too fast for the conditions.

Source: Associated Press, “3 farm workers killed when SUV plunges into river,” February 4, 2011

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