Fire, police and medical emergency personnel responded to a multi-vehicle rollover crash involving a semi tractor-trailer hauling corn on Route 3 at South Main Street in Columbia at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Police said a 1995 Jeep Cherokee driven by Jerry Stults, 77, of Cahokia, was turning left from southbound Route 3 onto South Main Street when it collided with a 1997 Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Mark Neary, 54, of Red Bud, which was traveling north on Route 3. The semi swerved across the median and into the southbound lanes, coming into contact with a 2012 Ford F-150 driven by Johnny Schoen, 60, of Jackson, Mo. The Ford landed on its roof following impact, and the semi overturned and spilled a trailer load of corn onto the roadway and into nearby Oerter Park.
Route 3 was restricted in both directions as workers cleared the vehicles as well as corn from the roadway.
“All three drivers were trapped at one point,” Columbia Assistant Fire Chief Jim Broshears said.Pictured is the overhead view of corn spilled as a result of Wednesday’s crash courtesy of the FOX 2 TV news helicopter.
Witnesses to the crash assisted in safely removing the drivers of the semi and pickup truck before emergency personnel arrived. Columbia firemen extricated Stults from the Jeep Cherokee; he was transported by ambulance to St. Anthony’s Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.
Neary was transported by a family member to the hospital as a precaution.
Stults was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. All three drivers were wearing their seat belts.
Southbound Route 3 was closed until about 7 p.m. as personnel worked to remove the large amount of spilled corn from the accident scene. Schaefer Farms assisted crews in removing the corn.