Fatality in Phelps County

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In Phelps County, a man from Sullivan dies after traveling in the wrong lanes of the roadway.

On November 3, 2012 at approximately 1:09 a.m., John O’Neal, age 50 from Sullivan, Missouri was operating a 1991 Buick Century. John was traveling in the eastbound direction in westbound lanes on Interstate 44. Orville Hess, age 65 from Salem, Illinois was operating a 2001 Freightliner traveling in the westbound direction. Ranjit Pelia, age 24 from Winton, California was operating a 2005 Freightliner traveling in the westbound direction.

At that said time and place, Ranjit Pelia and Orville Hess were traveling in the westbound direction on Interstate 44 while John O’Neal was traveling in the eastbound direction in westbound lanes. The crash occurred as Orville Hess attempted to avoid O’Neal’s vehicle by driving off the right side of the road. John’s vehicle collided with the Orville’s vehicle. Ranjit Pelia attempted to avoid the collision and drove of the right side of the road. All the vehicles overturned and John O’Neal was ejected from his car.

John O’Neal was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by deputy coroner, Lenox Jones, and was transported to the Phelp’s County Morgue. Ranjit Pelia sustained minor injuries and was transported to the Phelp’s County Regional Medical Center. According to the crash report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Orville Hess, was uninjured and did not seek medical attention.

John O’Neal’s 1991 Buick Century received total damages and was towed by Ron Dishman’s Towing. Orville Hess’ 2001 Freightliner received total damages and was towed by C & C Towing. Ranjit Pelia’s 2005 Freightlinter received moderate damages and was towed by C & C Towing.

This fatality crash was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and with the assistance of troop I. This is troop I’s 35th fatality for 2012.

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