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1 Dead in I-44 Accident Near Six Flags; Road Blocked

Authorities report a fatal accident on west bound Interstate 44, which has bottle-necked traffic. A highway patrol officer says alcohol, fog and early morning darkness were likely contributors to the accident.

Accident Recap provided/this article now updated at 9:15 a.m.:  The driver of a box truck is dead after swerving to avoid a car stopped on Interstate 44 near Six Flags this morning. Authorities have not released the name of the deceased, due to needing to notify his relatives; they do know who he is and the trucking company for which he drove.

The accident that occurred on Interstate 44 at around 5:15 a.m. today has stopped westbound traffic past the intersection of Six Flags/Allenton and McDonald's. Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Al Nothum told Patch he expects westbound I-44 traffic to be blocked until 10 or 10:30 a.m., while accident reconstruction teams take measurements and collect details.

Two large tow trucks from Hyndrich Towing in Eureka just headed westbound on I-44, through the blocked off area, toward the accident scene.

The box truck driver swerved and his rig overturned onto a guard rail, highway patrol authorities said.

A double tractor trailer driver behind the box truck also swerved, but hit the car and the box truck. Authorities believe he died instantly due to the impact. The driver of the box truck was not injured.

The crash scene is west of Eureka and east of Pacific in St. Louis County. The exact area of the accident appears to be somewhere running parallel to Fox Creek Road in Wildwood.

"We suspect alcohol may have been involved with the male driver of the car, who was disabled on the highway," said Nothum. "It was a bad situation for the truck driver, with overall visibility down this morning. He took evasive action to try to avoid hitting the car, but lost control when he did."

Nothum said the driver of the car was injured, but lucky. He said the car was demolished, and the driver was taken to a local hospital for treatment. But the driver was coherent and interviewed by authorities, he confirmed.

8:08 a.m.:  Troop C highway patrol officer is about to confirm details with Patch and other media.

7:56 a.m.:  Missouri Department of Transportation employees who indicated they have been in the accident area since 5:30 a.m. agree that fog was horrific ths morning. They said they couldn't even see their feet at first from the headlights before sunrise.

7:30 a.m.:  I-44 WESTBOUND motorists are all being diverted under the I-44 intersection and to the south outer road toward Pacific to bypass the closed I-44 section. Eureka Police Department office staff confirm it is Missouri Highway Patrol's venue.

7:11 a.m.:  A coroner's vehicle reportedly passed by, and a Eureka Police Department car still headed back toward Eureka.

Update at 7:03 a.m. from accident scene: No westbound traffic is being allowed on Interstate 44 past the intersection of Six Flags/Allenton and McDonalds's. We are waiting for an official Missouri Highway Patrol authority to share exact details.

This morning's foggy conditions surely didn't help motorists.

One would think the McDonald's here would be busy with drivers trying to wait it out, but the parking lot is not full. Too many of the motorists are being diverted before they can get to the McDonald's and the MotorMart turn off.

MoDOT crew now says westbound traffic on I-44 is backed up completely to the Missouri Route 109 intersection in Eureka. Avoid that intersection if at all possible, especially with school bus traffic now under way.

Westbound I-44 drivers still are being diverted to Business Loop 44/Old Route 66, which turns into E. Osage Street in Pacific.

Layla Azmi Goushey September 27, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Thank you for this helpful information this morning. Very sorry to know there might be a fatality.
Julie Brown Patton September 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Thank you, Layla. I would tell as many people as you can to avoid this area this morning. I'm still in the middle of it, and it's slow-going. Now lots of trailer truck drivers from westbound I-44 going on our less spacious outer road.
Julie Brown Patton September 27, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Thank you SO MUCH, for adding the personal photo from the accident scene, Dan.
Dan September 27, 2012 at 07:42 PM
You're welcome. I took it with my phone by blindly pointing it at my driver side window as I passed the spot. It came out better than I expected it to.
Jeannine Huskey September 28, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I am surprised that the highway patrol did not shut down I-44 (at least temporarily) due to practically no visibility on such a busy interstate. Accidents like this one shouldn't be happening. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/fla-patrol-defends-self-wreck-gainesville_n_1765361.html

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