Two persons were killed last week when a Howell County Sheriff’s Department patrol car slid out of control on an icy bridge south of Houston, causing a truck to strike it.
The crash demolished the passenger’s side of the southbound law enforcement car and sparked a lengthy rescue effort at South Millstone Road and U.S. 63. Members of the Texas County Rescue Squad, Houston Rural Fire Department, Houston Police Department, Texas County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol arrived at the scene to aid in the effort.
Officers said Deputy Dennis D. Maddux, 53, Willow Springs, was the car’s driver. A passenger in the front seat, Laura A. Whittingham, 35, of Koshkonong, was accompanying Maddux as a student at a law enforcement academy at West Plains.
In the back seat were two prisoners – Larry A. Marsh, 33, of Bakersfield; and Lisa G. Oliver, 36, of Falcon. They were en route to Howell County after being picked up at prisons at Fulton and Vandalia, respectively.
Members of the rescue squad, using specialized equipment worked to cut the passenger side of the vehicle to free victims out of the 2001 Ford Crown Victoria patrol car. Nearby, the Missouri Department of Transportation arrived to apply salt on the bridge. Ambulances arrived at the scene, as did Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson, whose office maintained communication with the Howell County Sheriff’s Department.
Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker pronounced Oliver dead at the scene. Whittingham died at 8:27 p.m. at Texas County Memorial Hospital.
Maddux was flown to St. John’s Hospital, where officials said this week that he continues to show progress and may be transferred to a room from the intensive care unit. His injuries include punctured lungs, broken ribs and shoulder blade, as well as trauma spots to his brain, Howell County authorities said. A condition on Marsh, who was transported by ambulance to Cox South Hospital in Springfield, was not available. The Missouri Department of Corrections said it could not provide the information.
The driver of the northbound truck, Michael L. Best, 36, of Houston and his son, Trenton, 8, were treated and released at TCMH.
Services for the victims were held last week.
A Missouri State Highway Patrol crash reconstruction team continues its investigation.