Deer Causes Rear-End Collision and Injuries for Three Passengers

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When a driver slowed down for a deer in the roadway, she was crashed into from behind in a rear-end crash in Douglas County that resulted in injuries for her passengers and that of the at-fault driver’s passenger.

On January 23, 2012 at approximately 7:30 P.M., 20-year-old Stephanie Griffin from Vanzant, Missouri was traveling eastbound on Missouri Highway 76 two miles west of Vanzant in a 2008 Toyota SUV. Griffin had two passengers: Jody Daugherty, age 43, from West Plains, Missouri and Frances Whanger, age 58, from Vanzant, Missouri. At said time and place, Ryan Willhite, age 15, from Mountain Grove, Missouri was heading eastbound in a 1994 Dodge Truck . Willhite had one passenger – Dalton Moore, age 16, from Mountain Grove, Missouri.

The crash occurred as Griffin was slowing for a deer in the roadway and Willhite crashed into her vehicle in a rear-end collision.

Griffin did not suffer injuries as a result of the crash. Griffin’s passenger, Daugherty, suffered moderate injuries and was transported by St. John’s EMS from the scene of the crash to St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri. Griffin’s second passenger, Whanger, suffered moderate injuries and was transported from the scene of the crash by Cox EMS to St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Springfield. Willhite’s passenger, Moore, suffered minor injuries and was transported by private vehicle from the scene of the crash to Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, Missouri. Daugherty was the only one to wear a seatbelt at the time of the crash of those who suffered injuries.

Griffin’s Toyota SUV received moderate damage and was towed from the scene of the crash by Gentryville Garage of Gentryville, Missouri. Willhite’s Dodge truck received extensive damage and was towed from the scene of the crash by Mountain Grove Towing of Mountain Grove, Missouri. Both drivers had driver insurance at this time.

According to a study on the involvement of deer in Missouri traffic crashes that was conducted in 2010 by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri had 3,420 incidents of deer-related crashes in 2010. Allegedly, one deer crash occurred every 2.6 hours in the state.

This investigation was led by Corporal B.L. Thompson of Troop G in Douglas County.

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