2 dead, 1 injured after rollover wreck

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cassville resident airlifted to Cox South Hospital

Two people died and another was seriously injured following a wreck at 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday on Highway 60, one mile west of Billings.

According to a Missouri State Highway Patrol report, Joan Schoelzel, 82, of Cassville, was driving a 2002 Mercury Grand Marquis westbound on Highway 60 in Christian County when her vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway, struck a ditch and overturned several times, ejecting the rear passenger.

Justin Schoelzel, 44, of Cassville was pronounced dead at 3:16 p.m. by the Christian County Coroner, and Jerold Schoelzel, 87, also of Cassville, was pronounced dead at 3:26 p.m. Joan Schoelzel suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to Cox South Hospital in Springfield.

Justin Schoelzel was not wearing a safety device, and Jerald and Joan Schoelzel were. The vehicle was totaled.

Sgt. John Lueckenhoff, public information and education officer with the Highway Patrol, said there was a witness report stating Schoelzel's vehicle swerved to avoid a white, church-style van.

"There are passing lanes there, but everything we're seeing in the preliminary investigation is that the van had already passed [Schoelzel's] vehicle when it ran off the road," he said. "We also had a trooper westbound of that van that saw it, conducted a traffic stop and inspected it for any signs of contact and interviewed the driver. There was no contact made, and the driver said he remembered seeing [Schoelzel's] car because he passed it.

"There are any number of things that could have happened to cause this wreck."

These are the 61st and 62nd fatalities of 2017 for Troop D of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which covers 18 counties in southwest Missouri, including Barry and Lawrence.

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