Victims of fatal Ripley County, Mo., crash identified

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

NAYLOR, Mo. -- Authorities used dental records and other medical records to identify the three individuals killed Saturday night in a head-on collision on Highway 142 near Naylor.

The bodies had been burned in the crash.

The dead, said Ripley County Coroner Mike Jackson, were identified as David Putman, 22, and Joshua Harmon, 25, both of Naylor, and Casey Campbell, 11.

Their cause of deaths were "massive trauma from the vehicle accident and also fire-related injuries," Jackson said.

In addition to making identification, Dr. Russell Deidiker, a pathologist at Mineral Area Regional Medical Center at Farmington, took samples for toxicology testing but did not do a "full, complete autopsy," Jackson said.

As Jackson and Deidiker worked Monday to identify the bodies, Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Corey Tucker and Sgts. Tim Pulley and Kevin Malugen, both members of Troop E's Major Crash Investigation Unit, were on the scene of the crash.

While there, Tucker explained the markings he had made on the highway Saturday night to indicate the position of the vehicles, as well as other pertinent information, to aid Pulley and Malugen in their reconstruction of the crash.

Pulley and Malugen, who examined both vehicles involved in the crash, took measurements, as well as photographed the scene.

The crash occurred at about 8 p.m. Saturday on Highway 142, about one mile north of Naylor, when Putman was eastbound in a 1999 Ford F-150 pickup.

Putman's truck reportedly crossed the center line in a curve and struck a 2005 Ford F-150 pickup head on.

Putman's truck then overturned, coming to rest on its top, partially in the westbound lane and on the westbound shoulder. It then caught fire.

"The truck was destroyed -- total, completely. There was massive damage to the vehicle," Jackson said.

The driver of the second pickup, Nicholas B. Lepold, 26, of Naylor, suffered serious injuries and was flown to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.

A hospital spokesman said Lepold arrived there by helicopter but was not admitted. He reportedly was transferred to a Cape Girardeau hospital for treatment. His condition was unknown at press time.

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