Tractor-trailer driver issued summons in U.S. 63 accident

Thursday, June 2, 2011 | 7:37 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The tractor-trailer driver involved in a four-vehicle accident Wednesday on U.S. 63 was issued a summons for careless and imprudent driving, Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Gary Gundy said Thursday.

The tractor-trailer hit three cars after traffic slowed because of an accident farther north, according to a previous Missourian article. The driver, Pearl T. Anderson of Pine Bluff, Ark., told Gundy she did not notice traffic stopping.

Anderson has a court date set for sometime in July, Gundy said.

Gundy said he was concerned that use of a phone or texting device may have distracted Anderson and led to the accident. After investigating, however, Gundy concluded that Anderson was not on her phone when the accident occurred.

Gundy also said Anderson was well within her allotted driving hours, according to her truck’s electronic log.

“She said that she was just thinking about what she was going to do when she dropped off the load,” Gundy said. “She wasn’t paying attention. She was lost in her thoughts and when she realized what was going on, she was already on the traffic that was slowing.”

Eight people were involved in the accident. In addition to Anderson, six people were transported to University Hospital, including Marybell Garcia, 32; Janice M. Palmer, 62; Lylvester Franklin, 25; Amber K. Splitter, 30; and Latavia L. Franklin, 1, all of Columbia. A second child was among those sent to the hospital but was not treated.

As of Thursday evening, Palmer remained at University Hospital in fair condition, said Jeff Hoelscher, media relations coordinator for MU Health Care. The other seven had left the hospital by around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, Gundy said.

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