One killed, two injured in accident on U.S. 63

Saturday, October 11, 2008 | 3:22 p.m. CDT; updated 4:58 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 11, 2008

COLUMBIA — One person died and two others were injured after a vehicle crashed and overturned early Saturday morning on U.S. 63 near Vandiver Drive.

According to a news release from the Columbia Police Department, a 1991 Mazda Navajo sport utility vehicle was traveling south on U.S. 63 when it veered off the right side of the highway shortly after 5 a.m. Friday. The SUV then struck a guardrail and flipped onto its roof.

Laura J. Wells, 39, of Columbia was partially ejected from the car and was pronounced dead at the scene by staff from the Boone County medical examiner’s office.

Zachary K. Schouten, 24, was the driver of the vehicle, and Shannon D. Merritt, 34, was the second passenger. Both were injured in the accident.

Columbia fire Capt. Eric Hartman said fire crews worked for 15 minutes to free someone, whom he thought was male, trapped inside the SUV.

Schouten and Merritt, both of Columbia, were taken to University Hospital for treatment. At the time of the release around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, both were listed in stable condition.

No one was wearing a seat belt, according to the release. Alcohol or drugs might have contributed to the accident, according to the release, but Columbia Police Sgt. Timothy Moriarity said the department is waiting for lab results to confirm that.

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