Elizabeth J. Rutledge, 32, of Troy, died in an accident that occurred at 6:35 p.m. on Dec. 25. Rutledge was driving on Highway H in Silex, heading northbound, when the vehicle she was driving traveled off the right side of the roadway. A press release from the Missouri State Highway Patrol said she overcorrected, causing the vehicle to return to the roadway and overturn.
“Rutledge was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle,” the release states. Lincoln County Ambulance personnel pronounced Rutledge deceased at the scene.
She was one of two fatalities in the Highway Patrol’s Troop C jurisdiction – down from 11 fatalities last Christmas. The other death was that of Leon J. Barnett, 48, of De Soto, Missouri, who died when another vehicle struck the motorcycle he was driving. Barnett was traveling at a low rate of speed in the northbound lanes of Interstate 55 in Jefferson County when another vehicle traveling the same direction changed lanes. The front of the second vehicle struck the rear of Barnett’s motorcycle. The impact caused Barnett to be ejected. Barnett was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Joachim-Plattin EMT M. Tawfall, Crystal City pronounced Barnett deceased at the scene of the crash. The driver of the vehicle that struck him sustained minor injuries; he was wearing a seat belt.
Troopers investigated the following:
• Traffic Crashes ― 91
• Traffic Crash Injuries ― 23
• Traffic Crash Fatalities ― 2
• DWI ― 18
Last year during the 102-hour Christmas counting period – which runs from 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve to 11:59 p.m. on Christmas – there were 1,155 traffic crashes. In those crashes, 11 people were killed and another 421 were injured. During the 2018 Christmas holiday, troopers arrested 106 people for driving while impaired.