Police identify victim of I-70 crash

Monday, October 8, 2007 | 11:23 p.m. CDT; updated 7:19 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia police on Monday night identified the woman killed in a fiery crash early Sunday on Interstate 70 as Joyce M. Gordon, 74.

Gordon’s identity was confirmed by dental records obtained from her family. A forensic odontologist, Dr. Russell Harrison, assisted the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office in the identification process.

Police said Gordon had a Columbia address but was originally from Florida.

The crash occurred at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday when a tractor-trailer driven by 51-year-old Jim Marchesi, of Junction City, Kan., rear-ended the car the Gordon was driving east on I-70 near the 123 mile marker, police said. The car caught fire.

After extinguishing the fire, firefighters from the Columbia Fire Department found Gordon dead inside the car.

Marchesi, who was hauling mail for the U.S. Postal Service, was wearing his seat belt and was not injured in the crash, Moriarity said.

Moriarity said investigation of the crash could take up to a month because of the fire damage to Gordon’s car. It was too soon to say whether any charges will be filed against Marchesi, Moriarity said.

“There’s conflicting information (about the crash),” Moriarity said. “What we have here is a driver who has been killed — all we have is the truck driver’s statement.”

Two other crashes involving trucks and cars on I-70 near Columbia last year left six people dead and five injured.

On April 28, 2006, a tractor-trailer driven by now 62-year-old Carl J. West, of Novinger, crashed into traffic stopped in a construction zone near the 130 mile marker of the interstate.

The crash killed 54-year-old Cheryl Card, of Lincoln, Neb., and 40-year-old John Ferkel, of St. Peters. Cheryl Card’s husband, Kirt Card, was seriously injured in the crash.

West pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to three years in prison.

On June 1, 2006, Columbia police said a truck driven by 62-year-old George Albright, of Clarksville, Tenn., crashed into a car slowed for traffic near the 163 mile marker of I-70 in Callaway County.

The four related Kansas City women in the car, 57-year-old Beverly Garrett, 55-year-old Anita Gibbs, 97-year-old Beulah Hunter and 81-year-old Eloise Jeans, were killed in the crash. Four other motorists were seriously injured.

Albright was charged with four counts of second-degree involuntary manslaughter. His trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 14 in the Boone County Courthouse.

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