Two teens recovering from injuries in Columbia crash

Emergency personnel work at the scene of Wednesday’s crash near Columbia High School. (Corey Saathoff photo)

A young woman was airlifted and a young man transported by ambulance for treatment of injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday on Route 3 northbound at Veterans Parkway near Columbia High School.

Columbia police, fire and EMS, along with Monroe County EMS, responded to the crash, which briefly closed both lanes of Route 3. An accident reconstruction crew investigated the incident and the northbound lanes of Route 3 were closed at that intersection until about 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police said a gray 2001 Lexus RX 300 SUV driven by Katherine A. Brinkley, 26, of Waterloo, was traveling northbound on Route 3 when it collided with a white 2009 Pontiac G6 driven by Brett Luther, 18, of Columbia, which was crossing Veterans Parkway eastbound through the intersection with Route 3. Luther was transported by Monroe County EMS ambulance to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis County for treatment of a head injury.

Luther’s passenger, 17-year-old Nicole Warnecke of New Athens, required extrication from the car by firefighters and was flown by ARCH Air Medical Services helicopter to Cardinal Glennon for treatment of serious injuries. She initially was in the intensive care unit with a head injury, but has since been upgraded to stable condition. Warnecke plays in local bluegrass band The Pickin’ Chicks.

Brinkley was not injured in the crash and was taken from the scene to the police station for questioning.

The accident remains under investigation.

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