Highway 25 wreck fatal for man from Chaffee

Wednesday, May 4, 2005
A 23-year-old man died in a three-car wreck on Tuesday.

For the second time in less than three weeks, a fatal crash occurred on Highway 25 just north of Delta.

Bryan Helsel, 23, of Chaffee, Mo., was killed in a three-vehicle accident at around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday three miles north of Delta, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The highway was closed to traffic for several hours from just north of Delta to one mile south of Blomeyer.

On April 14, Travis Graviett, 23, of Allenville was killed in a head-on collision when his truck struck a tractor-trailer.

Tuesday's accident happened when Helsel's Ford Tempo, heading north, crossed the centerline and struck the front driver-side corner of a car driven by Tammy Statler, 36, of Whitewater. Statler's car was thrown against a guardrail and continued on. Helsel then crossed into the path of a tractor-trailer driven by Jeremy Westbrook, 24, of Advance, Mo., the patrol said.

After the accident, the tractor-trailer blocked the highway.

Beth Henson and Kristina Criddle, both of Delta, came upon the accident just after it happened. The two said they saw smoke filling the sky and Helsel's smashed car in the ditch. Criddle called 911.

Helsel was pronounced dead at the scene by Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clifton. Cpl. Mark Winder said Helsel was ejected from the car and probably wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Statler, her 4-year-old son who was riding in her car, and Westbrook were not injured.

"I saw his car start to drift over, and I thought he would correct it like any other driver who was reaching for something or whatever," Statler said. "I thought I could hug the side of the road, but it didn't work."

Statler remembered nothing past the collision point until she was pulling her son out of the car. But she was shaken, and she said driving Highway 25 would never be the same.


335-6611, extension 182

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