PARIS, Mo. | Two people were hospitalized after a seven-vehicle crash occurred at a construction zone west of Paris on U.S. 24 Tuesday morning.
The accident, which occurred around 9:30 a.m., blocked all traffic on the two-lane highway, which is the major route between Monroe City and Moberly.
Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Brown said a tractor-trailer truck hauling hogs failed to stop in time at the construction stop zone and collided with a Ford crossover vehicle, sending it into a ditch and causing a chain reaction accident that involved three autos and three 18-wheel trucks.
The driver of the hog-hauling truck was airlifted to University Hospital in Columbia with serious to critical injuries, while the driver of the vehicle he struck was taken by ambulance to Columbia with serious injuries.
In addition about half of the 100 hogs on the truck died when the rig overturned.
“We are in the preliminary stage of the investigation but what we do know at this point for sure is that there was a line of vehicles stopped in traffic. The driver of the truck with the hogs was eastbound and the pilot vehicle was westbound, leading traffic,” Brown said. “the tractor trailer driver did not see the stopped car until too late. He swerved left to avoid an accident but ended up striking the vehicle and he lost control and overturned.”
Contractors working for the Missouri Department of Transportation have spent the last two months resurfacing long stretches of U.S. 24 and making bridge repairs. Traffic is down to a single lane in the construction area, with pilot vehicles guiding traffic between construction stops.
According to Brown, the truck hauling hogs struck the Ford, and kept traveling forward, causing the other semitrucks to turn over.
The other cars were mangled, and the ditch along the north side of U.S. 24 was strewn with dead hogs and debris from the wrecked cars and trucks. Crews faced a long day of clean-up, Brown said.
Drivers faced detours of at least 10 miles. Eastbound traffic was detoured to southbound Route C, then east on Route AA, north on Mo. 15 through Paris, until hooking back into U.S. 24, where there were long construction delays. Westbound traffic drove the same route in the opposite direction.
Brown said that responding agencies included the Highway Patrol, Monroe County Sheriff's Department, Paris Volunteer Fire Department, Monroe County Ambulance, Life Flight and the Randolph County Ambulance District.