I-70 tractor-trailer accident kills two

After the crash, the highway was covered in potatoes and grain.
Sunday, December 14, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:50 a.m. CDT, Sunday, June 29, 2008

Two Nebraska men died as a result of a tractor-trailer accident Saturday at 10:46 a.m. on Interstate 70 East, just west of the Stadium exit, said Scott Sergent of the Columbia Police Department.

Ronald E. Burghardt, 60, was pronounced dead at the scene. An ambulance took the other driver, a 49-year-old man, to University Hospital with “class one traumas,” or serious injuries. He was later pronounced dead, Sergent said. The Columbia Police Department is withholding the man’s name until his family is notified.

The unidentified man was traveling west on I-70 when the tractor-trailer he was driving crossed the median and hit the tractor-trailer Burghardt was driving head-on in the eastbound lanes of the highway, Sergent said. One truck was carrying potatoes and the other was carrying grain, he said.

Following the collision, potatoes, grain, debris and traffic lined the snow-covered highway. Police called the Missouri Department of Health to clean the grain and potatoes from the road.

Eastbound traffic backed up for miles after police officers closed one lane of the highway to determine the cause of the accident and clean up the scene, Sergent said. The lane was still closed as of 6 p.m. Saturday.

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