Two die in weather-related car crash

Saturday, October 13, 2007 | 5:35 p.m. CDT; updated 2:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Two women were pronounced dead at the scene of a car accident in northern Boone County on Saturday morning after the driver lost control of the vehicle because of rainy weather, crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a tractor-trailer, firefighters said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified the victims as Whitney M. Bentlage, 18, and Elizabeth A. Shea, 20, both of Columbia.

Bentlage was driving north on U.S. 63 at McHatton Road when she lost control on the wet highway and her vehicle crossed the center median into southbound traffic. The vehicle struck the tractor-trailer nearly broadside and came to rest on its wheels back in the median, said Gale Blomenkamp, a division chief with the Boone County Fire Protection District.

Bentlage and Shea were ejected from the vehicle. It was unknown if they were wearing seat belts, Blomenkamp said.

The truck driver, Thomas W. Goddard, of Chariton, Iowa, was taken by ambulance to Boone Hospital Center for observation, according to a Fire Protection District news release.

“The driver of the tractor trailer stated that he had no injuries and initially refused treatment, but because he worked for a company, the company wanted him transported as a precaution,” Blomenkamp said.

After responding to the accident at 8:24 a.m., Boone County firefighters remained on the scene for two hours, and Blomenkamp said that southbound U.S. 63 was limited to one lane of traffic during that time.

“It was clear up north, and traffic was not backed up or slowed down for any extended period of time,” he said.

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