Four firefighters and a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper are recovering after they were injured when a driver lost control on icy Interstate 70.
Three Marshall firefighters suffered serious injuries, but will be OK. A fourth firefighter and the trooper suffered minor injuries, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol said.
The firefighters for the city of Marshall and troopers responded to a rollover crash on eastbound I-70 at mile marker 77 in Saline County about 4 p.m. Saturday, said Sgt. Collin Stosberg of MHP. While the first responders were working to clear the crash, a driver traveling west on I-70 lost control.
Stosberg said the driver was traveling too fast for conditions. The driver's vehicle careened through the median and flew over a cable barrier and crashed a guardrail before striking the first crashed truck, which then hit the firefighters.
The trooper was injured while diving down an embankment to avoid the vehicle, Stosberg said.
Two firefighters were taken to the hospital in Marshall while two were rushed to University Hospital in Columbia.
Charges are expected to be filed against the driver once the investigation is completed. A Missouri Highway Patrol report identified the driver as Timothy D. Perez, 35, of Maryland Heights, MO.
The crashes in Saline County were among numerous ones that troopers are working in the 13-county Troop A, Stosberg said.
The precipitation on the roads has turned to ice, making the roads treacherous, Stosberg said.
"Troopers and other personnel are working hard to keep the roadways safe," the sergeant said.
He urged Missouri residents to avoid traveling during the winter storm and to take extra precautions when driving.
"Make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seat belt and only travel in adverse weather when it is absolutely necessary," Stosberg said. "If you find yourself out in winter weather, slow down and drive a speed that is appropriate for the conditions. Make sure to leave extra room between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Also, when the temperature is near freezing, the roadway may look wet when, in fact, ice is forming and that transition is very dangerous.
"Before you try driving on ice and snow covered roadways consider this: If you end up being injured or injuring someone else in a traffic crash because you decided to risk it, upon reflection, would the reason you decided to go out in inclement weather conditions be worth it? With rare exception, the answer is no."
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