Police still investigating stabbing and crash that left one dead

Monday, August 4, 2008

CAMPBELL, Mo. -- Authorities continue to investigate a two-vehicle collision that shut down Highway 53 for seven hours Thursday evening.

The crash happened about 5:30 p.m. on Highway 53, about four miles north of Campbell, when Jonathon Bartholomew, 22, of Kennett, Mo., and his estranged wife, Crystal Bartholomew, 22, were southbound on Highway 53, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Dale Moreland.

"There was an altercation in the car [and] he allegedly stabbed her with a knife," Moreland explained. "She was driving and she pulled off the road into a bean field and got out of the car. A struggle ensued outside of the car."

Passers-by, Moreland said, stopped to offer assistance and someone called the Dunklin County Sheriff's Department.

"They had them separated," he said. "The closest law enforcement to the scene was the Campbell police

and [its officers] started responding.

"When he heard the sirens coming, he got in the car and left the scene, south on 53.

"About a quarter of mile later, Bartholomew's 1999 Mercury Cougar went across the center and struck a [2005 International] tractor-trailer head on," Moreland said.

Both vehicles Moreland said, caught fire and firefighters with the Campbell Fire Department responded to put out the fires. "Again passers-by helped get both drivers from the vehicles," he said.

Bartholomew was pronounced dead at the scene while the tractor-trailer's 47-year-old driver Jeff Kronk III of year Deland Fla., suffered some burns, Moreland said. He was taken by ambulance to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

Crystal Bartholomew, who was stabbed once in the neck area, was flown to Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau for treatment, said Moreland, who reported that authorities don't know why she was stabbed.

Authorities, he said also aren't sure why Bartholomew's vehicle crossed the center line.

"He [Kronk] was going north and all of sudden [Bartholomew] came across; it was less than 100 feet," Moreland said. "[Kronk] had no time to do anything. He just swerved over there in Kronk's lane."

Moreland said members of the Troop E's Division of Drug and Crime Control and Major Crash Investigation Unit responded to investigate and reconstruct the scene "to find out something ¿ find out what is going on."

Highway 53, according to Moreland, was blocked from 5:30 p.m. Thursday to 12:30 a.m. Friday due to "the accident scene and due to those vehicles burning. They had to let them cool down before they could remove them."

The Highway patrol and deputies with the Dunklin County Sheriff's Department diverted traffic off Highway 53 during that seven-hour time frame.

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