Car accident kills two Marching Mizzou members; third released from hospital

Monday, June 27, 2011 | 7:56 p.m. CDT; updated 3:44 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 29, 2011

COLUMBIA — Three Marching Mizzou members were involved in a car accident on Sunday in eastern Oklahoma while on their way home from Texas. 

One student was killed in the accident and another died Monday as a result of injuries. The third was hospitalized and released.


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Jeremy Porter, 19, was killed when the car he was driving went off the right side of the road and hit a tree, according to a release from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Porter had not yet declared a major in the College of Arts and Science. He was from Independence and would have been a sophomore this fall. He graduated from William Chrisman High School and played alto saxophone in Marching Mizzou.

Sean Radcliff, 20, died Monday afternoon after being transported to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa in critical condition.

Radcliff also played alto sax in Marching Mizzou and was a music education major at MU.

Passenger Ryan Iadanza was taken to Muskogee Regional Medical Center in stable condition on Sunday. Hospital officials said he was released Monday.

Iadanza is also a music major who plays clarinet in the band.

Porter and Radcliff were very active in Phi Mu Alpha, a music fraternity. They were in Texas to see a fraternity brother, Gunnar Grantham, graduate from basic training.

Ryan Gavin, a 2007 MU graduate and friend of the two, said they went down to see the graduation because that is the kind of friends they were. He described them as “fiercely loyal friends.”

“They would do whatever they could to support another brother, and Gunnar was very close to them,” Gavin said. “They were down there at this big moment for Gunnar because they were there for him, and they were there for all of us all the time.”

A mutual friend, Katelyn Amen, said the two were very passionate about Marching Mizzou and the fraternity.

“For both of them, band and Phi Mu Alpha were their lives, I think,” Amen said.

The collision occurred at about 8:05 p.m. on U.S. Highway 69, approximately four miles south of Muskogee, Okla., according to the release. The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

The driver's side door of the car hit a tree, and the impact killed Porter, the driver, according to a news release. The car was wrapped around the tree.

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Karen-Ann Williams June 27, 2011 | 10:47 p.m.

My husband saw them go off the highway, as they were about 1/8 of a mile ahead of us traveling in the same direction. We were the first people on scene. The car was against the tree on the driver's side, it did push the side door in, but the car was not wrapped around it. The car was upright too.
The accident occurred at 8:20 pm. My husband was the one that filled out a report for the Oklahoma State Trooper. We couldn't see skid marks or any tracks to tell just how they ended up where the car stopped. Both sides of the car were damaged. We couldn't get the doors open on either side. All the side window glass was gone, which was the only way Ryan got out, and the only way we could reach Jeremy and Sean. We are deeply saddened by the loss of life.
I can be e-mailed at by family members only please.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 28, 2011 | 6:51 a.m.

It's been a mean season for auto deaths involving University of Missouri System students or recent graduates. As Noted in this newspaper, four MS&T students (all international students from India) died in a crash on a Sunday morning (well after daylight) on MO 42. Their vehicle, carrying a driver and four passengers, crossed a center line and collided with a truck. So far as has been made public, neither alcohol nor drugs was a factor.

I wonder in both accidents whether all persons in the vehicle were wearing proper restraints. It's entirely possible to have fatalities inside a vehicle even if the exterior of the vehicle shows only moderate damage.

(Report Comment)
Nina Gardner June 28, 2011 | 9:36 a.m.

I am Gunnar's mom and had the pleasure spending the past few days with all of these young men. I can't express how very saddened I am that this has happened.

We had had the most wonderful time in San Antonio, TX visiting my son who graduated from the Air National Guard Basic Training on Friday. These young men are all a very tight group of supportive loyal friends and it supprised me to hear they were driving down just to see Gunnar for one day and then turn around and go back. As a mother, I was a bit concerned about them getting enough sleep, but it all worked out.

We all spent Saturday down at the River Walk, taking the boat tour, going thru the mirror maze, laser game, visiting the Alamo and shopping at the mall. Jeremy kept saying he wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe to purchase something, so we walked the river until we found the store. I bought them all ice cream at Ben & Jerry's and Saturday evening I dropped them all off at a baseball game and picked them up afterward. Sunday morning we all got back together and had breakfast at the Cracker Barrrel and said our goodbyes around 11:30 am. Sean paid for his motel room and then the boys headed back to Missouri. Again, being a mom I read them the riot act about using the buddy system to keep the driver awake, wear their seatbelts and to take breaks.

I have had the pleasure knowing these boys for a couple of years now and I am grateful for them giving me a chance for an old mom follow them around all day. The boys took several pictures with their phones and I am kicking myself for leaving my camera in the motel room.

My heart goes out to the parents and friends of Sean and Jeremy. This horriffic tradegy makes no sense and will stay with me for a very long time. No parent should have to lose a child in the way. This tradegy has made me take step back and look at things in a different light with my own family.

Thank you to the couple that stopped to give as much help as they could. Thank you to the Air National Guard for giving my son leave to attend the services and have the chance to say goodbye. My deepest condolences to their families for their loss. Jeremy and Sean will be forever missed and in our hearts.

(Report Comment)
Bridget Murphy June 28, 2011 | 9:36 a.m.

Karen-Ann Williams,
Thank you very much for your information. We got the information about the accident from the trooper who responded to the accident, but if you would be willing to talk with me about what you saw - please send me an email.
Thanks again for your input.

(Report Comment)
Bridget Murphy June 28, 2011 | 9:49 a.m.

Nina Gardner,
If you are also willing to talk with me, please send me an email. Thank you for sharing your story about Jeremy, Sean and Ryan.
If anyone, friends or family, is willing to talk with me please send me an email. I will be writing more about them as this week continues.

(Report Comment)
Bridget Murphy June 28, 2011 | 12:44 p.m.

Ellis Smith,
According to the release from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Iadanze and Porter were wearing seatbelts.

(Report Comment)
Karen-Ann Williams June 28, 2011 | 3:13 p.m.

Thankyou, you confirmed what we saw and heard from Ryan at the accident scene. He was out of the car when we got there, by getting out the passenger window. Although he was hurt and we were trying to assist him, his entire focus was on his friends still in the car. Sean regained consciousness and Ryan was right there beside us talking to him and helping us keep Sean in the car. We knew we couldn't move him or let him try to get out on his own, which he attempted to do.
Once other people stopped and came to the car, a man got Ryan to the side of the highway, sat him on a sleeping bag from the car trunk, and wrapped him in a blanket. A woman and another man stayed with Ryan till the paramedics arrived and got him ready to go in the ambulance to the hospital. I stayed at the car with Jeremy and Sean. Sadly, Jeremy never regained consciousness, and died within minutes of us arriving. Other people at the scene also checked Jeremy for a pulse as well.
Sean was the one I supported, as he had lifted himself up a bit. I never stopped talking to him until the paramedics arrived and took over.
Someone found one of the boys I phones and took it to Ryan. He made a call and got who I was told was a parent of one of the boys. The same man that took Ryan to the road, was passed the phone so he could tell them where the accident happened and which hospital the boys would be going to.
Ryan told us he was asleep in the front passenger seat. He and Jeremy DID have their seat belts on. I did not see a seat belt around Sean. They were not speeding, there were no other vehicles around them.
The fire department had to cut Sean and Jeremy out of the car. Before they arrived, it took 3 men to pull the front passenger door off to get to Jeremy. They did not move him.
The medivac helicopter landed on the highway to air lift Sean to the local hospital in Muskogee. Ryan was taken to the same hospital in an ambulance, and Jeremy was taken to the same hospital in another ambulance. My husband spent his time helping Ryan until another man came and helped him. Then my husband assisted the officers that arrived on the scene, telling them what he saw and knew from what Ryan had told him. He filled out the incident report for the State Trooper.
I put the sleeping bag and knitted blanket that Ryan had used, back in the trunk of the Focus.
Everyone who stopped and helped the boys stayed on scene. We all ended up thanking each other for the things we did to help them and expressing our sorrow over the loss of Jeremy. Within minutes of this accident, none of your sons were alone.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the parents, families and friends of Jeremy and Sean. Our thoughts are also with Ryan, who was outstanding during this accident. We hope he gets all the love and support we feel he's going to need right now and in the future.
Even though we did not know Jeremy, Sean and Ryan, we'll never forget them.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer June 28, 2011 | 3:49 p.m.

Karen-Ann Williams, thank you so much for sharing your touching account of a tragic situation.
— Joy Mayer, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Emily Roman June 28, 2011 | 4:30 p.m.

Karen-Ann Williams,
Some family members and friends would like to get in touch with you to thank you. It seems, though, that the e-mail address you posted in your first comment does not work. Is there a different e-mail address where they can reach you.
Thank you,
Emily Roman, Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Sheryl Lockridge June 28, 2011 | 5:03 p.m.

Nina and Karen-Ann,
I am a friend of Jeremy's mother. I do not know if you have heard from her yet or not. I am keeping this information for her. It will give her great comfort at some point. If you would like information about Jeremy's service, please feel free to contact me on Facebook. My name is Sheryl Lockridge. I am from Blue Springs, Missouri.

I wish you knew his mother. She is a wonderful person. Her boys couldn't ask for a better mother. This tragedy... I have not words to express. But I know that she is thankful for all who were there to help. And I know that she will want to know about Jeremy shopping for a present for her. the Hard Rock Cafe was for her.

Thank you both for the information.

(Report Comment)
Karen-Ann Williams June 28, 2011 | 6:29 p.m.

I'm sorry I didn't get my e-mail in there right. My e-mail is:

Sheryl and Emily, if you e-mail me at the above e-mail, I would appreciate it and give a you phone number for family members to reach us if that will help them at this sad time.
My husband looked for you on facebook, Sheryl, and can't find you, so any info you could give us in an e-mail to be able to post to you would be welcome.

(Report Comment)

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