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Alcohol May Have Led to Fatal Missouri Car Accident

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Republic, MO: Authorities are now required to check all drivers involved in fatal Missouri traffic accidents for alcohol consumption. Such was the case after a March 19 crash killed a woman from Aurora. The drivers of two other vehicles involved in the collision survived—and, while the incident is still under investigation, authorities say that one of the surviving drivers may have been under the influence of alcohol.

The deceased, Tara Williams, was navigating her 2001 Hyundai Accent eastbound along US 60 at about 8:20 pm, about a mile west of Republic, when she was rear-ended by another car. The collision forced Williams' car into oncoming traffic, where it was struck by a westbound 2006 Chrysler Town & Country driven by Kenneth Dodson, 76 of Monett. All drivers were wearing seat belts.

Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. Dodson received minor injuries. His wife, who was riding in the passenger seat beside him, suffered moderate injuries.

Susanna Wallace, 26, of Billings, was driving the 1998 Chevrolet Malibu that hit Williams' car from behind. Wallace was not injured.

The Springfield News-Leader of Missouri reported on April 6 that the Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating the possibility that alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident. "Any time there's a fatality anymore, we're supposed to test all surviving drivers, regardless if they've been drinking, even if we can tell they haven't," said. Sgt. Robert Proctor, who indicated in the News-Leader that one of the two drivers was found not to be intoxicated. Sgt. Proctor would not discuss the results of the test on the other driver.

However, the News-Leader reported that troopers executed a search warrant on one of the vehicles involved in the three-vehicle collision and "opinioned that [the driver of the Malibu] was driving under the influence of alcohol."

The Missouri Highway Patrol issued a search warrant for photographs of the damage sustained in the accident, together with data from the Malibu's event data recorder. There are currently no charges in the accident. Sgt. Proctor said the final report has not been submitted to the prosecutor.


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