Crash prompts discussion about Highways 160/5N intersection

drone photo courtesy of Ed Doiron This overhead photo shows the location of the four vehicles that were involved in an afternoon crash at Highways 160 and 5 North last Friday. Emergency responders were at the scene for five hours, from 4:45 until 9:50 p.m., cleaning up the crash site. There was one reported injury to Claire York of Springfield. The injury was classified as “moderate” by the MSHP. All other drivers and passengers were uninjured.

Times photo/Regina Mozingo Two semi trucks and two passenger vehicles were towed from the intersection of Highways 160 and 5 North last Friday after a four-car collision occurred around 4:45 p.m. Many residents expressed concern with the number of crashes that occur at that intersection and suggest a lower speed limit or a traffic light be installed.

Times photo/Regina Mozingo This westbound Dollar General semi truck jackknifed and crashed into a Trailblazer that pulled out in front of the driver. That crash led to another collision with the Dollar General truck and the gray Kenworth semi truck, pictured here.

A photo posted to the Ozark County Times Facebook page from a May 31 four-vehicle crash at Highways 160 and 5 North in Gainesville has sparked a lively discussion, where many local residents voiced their opinion that something should be done to help prevent further crashes at the busy intersection. 


Details of the crash

The crash occurred around 4:45 p.m. last Friday, May 31. The sound of the impact of the crash was so loud that several residents say they were brought out of their homes, some as far away as near the Gainesville square, to see where the noise originated. 

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s online crash report, 38-year-old Claire E. York, of Springfield, had driven down Highway 5 north in a 2023 Chevrolet Trailblazer, when she failed to yield and pulled out onto Highway 160 in front of a westbound Dollar General merchandise-hauling semi truck. That truck was a 2023 International tractor trailer driven by 46-year-old Isaac Idheileh of Nixa. The semi, unable to brake quickly enough to avoid a collision, hit York’s Trailblazer, sending it careening off the highway into a grassy area to the northwest of the intersection, and jack-knifing the Dollar General truck. 

That semi then hit another semi, an oncoming eastbound 2002 Kenworth tractor trailer, driven by 34-year-old Roman Shulimov of Rogersville. In the course of that secondary crash, the semi was pushed backward into a fourth vehicle, a 2020 Ford Edge, driven by 73-year-old Deborah L. Hawkins of Mountain Home, Arkansas, which was also traveling eastbound following the second semi. 

Claire York was the only injured party in the four vehicles, according to the report. She was transported by ambulance to Baxter Health in Mountain Home, Arkansas. 

All four drivers were wearing seatbelts. 

The Trailblazer and the Dollar General semi truck, the two vehicles involved in the first collision, were both total losses. The second semi received extension damage, and the Ford Edge was moderately damaged. Ron’s Recovery in Gainesville handled towing the Trailblazer and the Dollar General semi. The owner of the second Kenworth semi requested that Yates Boys Towing in Seymour handled towing that truck, and the owner of the Ford Edge requested that Discount Towing in Mountain Home, Arkansas, be called to remove that vehicle. 

The two semis and the Ford Edge were insured. The report says it’s unknown if York had insurance on the Trailblazer. The crash was investigated by MSHP MSgt. C. A. Hogue. 

Those responding included the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department, the MSHP, Ozark County Ambulance and Gainesville Volunteer Fire Department, who had mutual aid help from the Lick Creek and Oakland/Promised Land VFDs. 

The Dollar General semi truck had reportedly just filled its fuel tanks, so there was a large amount of diesel fuel spilled onto the roads in the course of the collisions.


Discussion on Facebook

Two Times staff members were on scene shortly after the collision occurred and posted photos to the Ozark County Times Facebook page, helping to inform motorists to avoid the area as traffic was being diverted through business parking lots during the clean up process. 

As of Monday, there were 138 comments on the post, many of which were from residents who expressed concern that the intersection of Highways 160 and 5 North has seen more than its fair share of crashes. 

Many of the commenters suggested that the speed limit be lowered from its current 55 miles per hour to 45 or 35 miles per hour on Highway 160 through the city of Gainesville, bringing up other areas on Highway 160 that have lowered speed limits (such as the stretch from Isabella to Theodosia.) 

Others suggested that a traffic light should be installed at that intersection. One commenter worried that vehicles stopped at a red traffic light would back up along Highway 160, which wouldn’t allow semis enough time to stop once they topped the hill when traveling eastbound on the roadway. 


How to share concerns

Although the stretch of Highway 160 is within the Gainesville city limits, the highway is a state highway and governed by the Missouri Department of Transportation. 

Officials with the City of Gainesville say that as they understand it, the city has no ability to make decisions concerning the state highway or its speed limits or traffic lights.

The Ozark County Times contacted MoDOT Monday to ask how citizens could share concerns about lowering the speed limit or having a traffic light installed at a specific location due to the number of crashes. A spokesperson said that residents can call MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) and share the concern with an operator on the phone, who will make a note of it. Alternatively, the MoDOT website has a “Report a Road Concern,” form to fill out at The MoDOT spokesperson told the Times that if a significant number of people are concerned about a certain area, the MoDOT team will likely send a team of engineers to the location to conduct a traffic study to see if a change is warranted, and if so, which type of change would be most beneficial in that location. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423