A Missouri tractor-trailer crash on I-44 injured six people, four seriously, and snarled traffic for hours as crews had to clean up 40,000 pounds of blueberries that were being transported by the big rig.
According to local media reports, the crash occurred just east of the Piney River Bridge in Pulaski County. The truck driver, Kalisa Evariste, 50, lost control of the 2009 Freightliner and crossed the median into oncoming traffic. After crashing through the median cables, the tractor-trailer hit an oncoming pickup truck, driven by John Korenak, 59, and then went off the roadway down an embankment.
After the initial collision, Korenak’s pickup then collided with a 2003 Acura, driven by Angelia Varga, 40, and both the pickup and the Acura also spun out of control over the embankment.
Evariste and a passenger in the semi, Nicholas Sohns, 29, were seriously injured and taken to Phelps County Regional Medical Center. John Korenak and a passenger in the pickup, Behel Korenak, 60, were also seriously injured and taken to different hospitals for emergency treatment. Angelia Varga and her passenger, Francis Varga, 55, also sustained injuries, but theirs were considered less serious and they refused treatment at the scene.
The right lane of westbound I-44 was closed for hours as workers cleared the scene of the passenger vehicles and then worked to unload the berries being hauled by the truck.
Local media reports said that the tractor-trailer was operated by the England trucking company. This large shipping company has more than 5,000 drivers and has been involved in more than 400 total tractor trailer crashes in the past two years, with a 161 of those crashes causing injury.