Fatal accident is one of four injury crashes in last week
Four single-vehicle injury accidents occurred in Ozark County during the past week, including a fatal crash Saturday afternoon on the Tecumseh Curves.
Gainesville resident George Szabo, 83, died Saturday, Oct. 3, when the 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was riding in crashed on Highway 160 a half-mile west of Tecumseh on the section known as the Tecumseh Curves. Szabo was pronounced dead at the scene by Ozark County Coroner Shane Ledbetter. The vehicle’s driver, Willa J. Luthi, 76, of Tecumseh, was transported by Air Evac to Mercy Hospital in Springfield.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol online crash report, the accident occurred at 1:01 p.m. Oct. 3 when the Jeep, traveling eastbound, ran off the right side of the roadway, struck a sign and then the ditch. The vehicle, which was totaled in the crash, was towed from the scene by Ron’s Recovery.
Both Luthi and Szabo were wearing seatbelts, according to the report. The crash was investigated by MSHP Trooper J. W. Philpott. Lick Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Ozark County Ambulance also responded to the crash, according to this week’s sheriff’s report. (See the Szabo obituary, page 8.)
J Highway crash
Later Saturday, Gainesville resident Ralph Brown, 77, sustained moderate injuries in a single-vehicle crash on J Highway about 2 miles south of Highway 160. Brown, who was wearing a seat belt, according to the MSHP online report filed by MSHP Cpl. N. J. Britt, was taken by Ozark County Ambulance to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
According to the report, the accident occurred at 5:50 p.m. when the 2019 Chevrolet pickup Brown was driving northbound on J Highway ran off the right side of the road, overcorrected, ran off the left side of the road and struck a fence. The pickup, which had extensive damage, was towed from the scene by Ron’s Recovery. Lick Creek VFD also responded to the crash.
Semi-rollover crash Sept. 29 on Highway 5 south
Four days earlier, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, Terry A. Middleton, 61, of Everton, Arkansas, sustained minor injuries in a single-vehicle crash of the 2000 Kenworth semi-truck he was driving northbound on Highway 5 between W Highway and the state line. Middleton, who was wearing a seatbelt, was taken by Ozark County Ambulance to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home.
According to the MSHP crash report filed by MSHP Cpl. D. J. Johnson, the crash occurred when the truck traveled off the right side of the roadway then partially returned to the road and overturned. The truck sustained moderate damage, according to the report, and was towed from the scene by Baker’s Towing of Mountain Home. In addition to the MSHP, the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department responded to the crash, along with the Timber Knob, Pontiac / Price Place, and Oakland (Arkansas) VFDs.
Another semi crash Monday on Highway 5
Monday night, Oct. 5, the week’s fourth injury accident – and the second semi-rollover crash – occurred at 5:30 p.m. on Highway 5 about 3 miles south of Gainesville. According to the MSHP online crash report filed by MSHP Cpl. N. J. Britt, the accident occurred when a northbound 2015 Freightliner driven by Timothy B. Adams, 58, of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, ran off the right side of the highway and overcorrected, coming back onto the roadway. The vehicle then slid across the highway counter-clockwise, impacting a tree on the passenger side. Adams, who was not wearing a seat belt, sustained serious injuries, according to the report, and was transported by Air Evac to Cox South Hospital in Springfield.
The Freightliner was totaled, according to the report, and was removed from the scene by Baker’s Towing of Mountain Home. Timber Knob, Pontiac / Price Place and Gainesville VFDs also responded to the crash along with the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department and Ozark County Ambulance.