Motorist survives high-speed, off-road crash into cedar grove along Route P

By Dave Marner, Managing Editor
Posted 2/9/22

A Sullivan man who drove off of Route P early Monday afternoon traveled an estimated 150 yards through a cedar grove before the car came to a stop. And it appears he may have done so …

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Motorist survives high-speed, off-road crash into cedar grove along Route P

Posted

A Sullivan man who drove off of Route P early Monday afternoon traveled an estimated 150 yards through a cedar grove before the car came to a stop. And it appears he may have done so intentionally.

William C. Lottes, 30, was traveling south toward Owensville when the 2015 Chevrolet Impala exited the left side of Route P a tenth of a mile north of Link  Avenue,  and went airborne, shearing off an Ameren Missouri electric utility pole.  The car continued into the cedar stand, slicing off 4-inch diameter trees in its path at bumper level.

Ameren Missouri linemen recovered a portion of their utility pole, about the width of the car, about 75 yards up into the woods. It had been connected with support wires to an electric service line on the west side of the state route. Electric service in the area was not interrupted by the incident, Ameren personnel at the scene said.

Lottes received relatively minor injuries, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol report filed by Trooper B.R. Lange following the crash at 1:10 p.m. Feb. 7. Owensville firemen cut a path into the wooded area to reach Lottes’ vehicle which was not visible from the roadway.

Mike Riefer was heading into town within minutes of when the crash took place and stopped for wires down over the roadway. Those turned out to be “guide wires” supporting the utility pole and the wire crossing the highway to help support the power line running along Route P.

City police, who had been notified of a possible motorist heading toward Owensville after expressing suicidal thoughts, were heading toward the area when the call went out for a rescue.

Jeff Arnold, chief of the all-volunteer fire department in Owensville, said the incident “appears deliberate.”

Det. Rob Green with the city police force, said they received an advisory about a motorist who might be trying to harm himself. Green described the incident as “possibly intentional.”

After firemen cleared tree debris from around the car, Lottes was removed on a backboard and carried in a rescue basket out of the woods through the shortcut path back to the pavement which firemen had made. He complained of back pain. Triple L Towing would use the same path to remove the car from the wooded area.

Owensville Area Ambulance District personnel transported Lottes to Phelps Heath in Rolla for treatment. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to Lange’s report.

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