Fatal crash in Columbia

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A medical helicopter arrives on scene following Monday’s crash in Columbia. (Kermit Constantine photo)

A car crash early Monday afternoon in Columbia resulted in one fatality and one serious injury.

Survival Flight helicopter responded to airlift one person to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis following the crash, which occurred about 1:45 p.m. on Route 3 at the frontage road across from Gilmore Lake Road.

Extrication was required at the scene. Police said both occupants of the vehicle involved in the crash were from Monroe County.

Diann Toenjes

On Tuesday, Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill identified the deceased as Diann Toenjes, 73, of Waterloo.

“On scene investigation shows Toenjes was traveling southbound on Route 3 when the 2019 Ford Fiesta left the roadway on the west side of Route 3,” Hill stated in a press release. “The vehicle traveled on the grass shoulder for approximately 200 feet before striking a concrete culvert, causing the vehicle to become airborne and hitting an embankment and overturning.”

The person who was airlifted was identified as a 15-year-old granddaughter of Toenjes.

Both occupants were wearing seat belts, Hill added.

Sarah Wuertz, who described Toenjes as her “second mom,” said Toenjes was spoke her mind in an “honest and genuine” way.

“Diann was a very, very strong person,” Wuertz said. “She had a very strong backbone. She had no problems sharing her thoughts with you. She was a spitfire.”

Visitation for Toenjes is 4-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. until time of service Saturday at Quernheim Funeral Home, Waterloo.

Funeral services are 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, Pastor Merritt Demski officiating.

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