Preliminary Reports Indicate Six Traffic Fatalities, Zero Boating Fatalities, Two Drownings Over Memorial Day Weekend

Six people died in traffic crashes over the 2020 Memorial Day weekend counting period of 6 p.m., Friday, May 22, through 11:59 p.m., Monday, May 25, 2020.

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers investigated the following:

Traffic Statistics:

  • Crashes – 341; Injuries – 112; Fatalities – 5; DWI – 111; Drug Arrests – 112.
  • Boating Statistics:
  • Crashes – 10; Injuries – 7; Fatalities – 0; Drownings – 2; BWI – 11; Drug Arrests – 3.

One person drowned on Friday, May 22, 2020.  Frankie Mills, 50, of Rockaway Beach, MO, drowned after he fell from a boat dock into the water. The drowning occurred in Taney County in Lake Taneycomo. Deputy Coroner Bryan Koppitz pronounced Mills dead at the scene. Mills was not wearing a life jacket when the incident occurred.

One person drowned Saturday, May 23, 2020. 

Fredgrikas M. Hardiman, 34, of Fayetteville, AR, exited a boat, was swept downstream by a swift current and went under a log jam. The drowning occurred in McDonald County on the Elk River one mile north of Noel, Mo. Assistant McDonald County Coroner Jonathan Fletcher pronounced Hardiman dead at the scene. 

Troopers investigated five of the six traffic crash fatalities. Two fatalities occurred in the Troop C, Weldon Spring area. One fatality occurred in each of the following areas: Troop A, Lee’s Summit, Troop E, Poplar Bluff, and Troop F, Jefferson City.

No fatalities occurred on Friday, May 22, 2020 during the Memorial Day holiday counting period.

Four fatalities occurred on Saturday, May 23, 2020. 

Richard Talbert, 26, of Sedalia, MO, died when the vehicle he was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway and struck an embankment. The vehicle overturned multiple times, struck a barbed wire fence, and came to rest against a tree. The crash occurred in Pettis County on Missouri Route U at Smasal Road. Talbert was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. 

Barbara M. Shaffer, 75, of De Soto, MO, died when another driver lost control of his vehicle and it struck the vehicle Shaffer was driving. The crash occurred in Washington County on Missouri Highway 47 north of Carp Lake Road. Shaffer was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the other vehicle was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash; he sustained minor injuries.

Nicholas L. Hampton, 25, of Kennett, MO, died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger ran off the roadway, and the driver overcorrected into the path of another vehicle resulting in the crash. The crash occurred in Dunklin County on U.S. Highway 412 at east city limits of Kennett. 

Kyle J. Minor, 28, of O’Fallon, MO, died when the ATV he was operating failed to negotiate a curve, traveled off the right side of the roadway, and struck a tree. The crash occurred in Washington County. 

One person died on Sunday, May 24, 2020. Florissant Police Department investigated the crash. No further details are available at this time.

One death was reported on Memorial Day. 

Ethan Fuemmeler, 30, of Armstrong, MO, died when the vehicle he was driving crossed the center line into the path of another vehicle. The other driver attempted to avoid a crash by exiting the right side of the roadway. Fuemmeler’s vehicle exited the left side of the roadway and struck the other vehicle headon. The crash occurred in Howard County on Missouri Highway 5 south of Missouri Highway 3. Fuemmeler was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The other driver was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.

Too many people die in traffic crashes each year in Missouri. The choices you make when you’re behind the wheel matter. Make good choices, so you’ll never have to say, “If I could just go back …”

Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!