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Multi-Vehicle Crash Shuts Down Highway 136

Written by on December 14, 2021

ARBELA, Mo.- An attempted theft of heavy equipment resulted in a fiery early-morning crash that shut down a major highway for 8 ½ hours Monday. 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that a stolen front-end loader was being driven slowly westbound by 39-year old Benjamin Coop of Greentop just before 6:30 am with no lights on Highway 136 a mile west of the Route A and Route H intersection near Arbela.  A pickup driven westbound by 58-year old Darin Dale of Gorin then struck the loader in the rear and traveled off the right side of the roadway.

A tractor unit that was pulling a loaded fuel tanker was ablaze after a 4-vehicle crash Monday morning (Photo Courtesy Scotland County Sheriff Bryan Whitney)

As a result of the impact, the loader was disabled in the middle of the roadway.  A westbound semi driven by 70-year old Michael Hammond of Macomb was pulling a tanker trailer loaded with gasoline and struck the loader.  The semi traveled off the left side of the roadway and overturned. 

The trailer was partially blocking the roadway and was then hit by a pickup driven eastbound by 54-year old Larry Asher of Greentop.  The pickup then traveled off the right side of the roadway.

As a result of the crashes, the loader received moderate damage, while the other vehicles were all totaled. 

Dale was taken by Air Evac to University of Missouri hospital with serious injuries.  A passenger in the Asher truck, 59-year old Allen Conover, was taken by Air Evac to Blessing Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.  Asher and Hammond were both taken by Scotland County Ambulance to Scotland County Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  All of the injured parties were wearing their seat belts. 

As a result of the investigation, Coop was arrested for felony tampering with a motor vehicle, DWI-drugs resulting in serious physical injury, leaving the scene of a crash, and operating an implement on the highway between sunset and sunrise.  Coop was later released.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Department, Memphis Police Department, Scotland County Fire Department and Scotland County Ambulance.  The road was closed until just before 3 pm Monday afternoon while emergency crews attempted to safely pump the gasoline out of the trailer before clearing the scene.


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