Woman is killed, three hurt in flaming car wreck

Thursday, January 10, 2002

DELTA, Mo. -- Wanda Blattel of Delta helped pull a man out of a burning van Wednesday in a five-car accident on Highway 25 between Delta and Advance.

One woman was killed and three were injured, Highway Patrol Sgt. Dale Moreland said. Nine people were in the five cars.

The highway between Delta and Advance was closed for about five hours.

The names of the injured victims were not available late Wednesday night.

Two Hutson Furniture delivery workers, Jeremy Hunter and Justin Weaver, were involved in the accident but were not hurt. They had attempted to pull the deceased victim from her vehicle until emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

"We thought she was just unconscious, but we didn't know for sure," Hunter said. "We just wanted to get her out of there because we thought the van was going to blow."

The accident occurred in front of Wanda Blattel's house. Blattel's 13-year-old son, Cody, was washing his 3-wheeler when he heard the accident at 4:29 p.m. and immediately called 911. The Delta Fire Protection District arrived seven minutes later, training officer John Sachen said.

Meanwhile, Wanda Blattel ran to the accident.

"First, I ran down to check on the lady in the car and I got no response," she said. "He said his van was on fire and I couldn't get the door open. He had his seat belt on, but he was already out of it. Then I grabbed his arms and helped him out the window."

The driver of the van told Blattel that the vehicle was loaded with soda cans, which exploded like fireworks.

"When those things started popping, it sounded like blackcats," Hunter said.

It was unclear how the accident transpired, but Weaver and Hunter said they thought it started when one of the cars crossed the center stripe and swiped the side of the furniture truck. They had been driving north from Advance.

When Hunter looked in the rearview mirror, there was chaos. Both Weaver and Hunter said it appeared the white van went airborne.

Sachen said the van was completely in flames when the first firefighters got to the scene and that they got the blaze under control quickly.

Delta called for mutual aid from Advance and extrication from Cape Girardeau. Twenty-seven fire personnel were on the scene and seven fire trucks were used.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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