A Quapaw couple are in stable condition after a deadly crash on I-44 Wednesday, according to hospital staff.
Rick and Julia Price-Allison are recovering in the burn unit at St. John's Hospital in Springfield.
According to friends, Rick Allison, 52, was driving his wife Julia Price-Allison, 40, to work at the Diamond (Mo.) High School, where she teaches math, when they crashed into the pile-up of tractor-trailers Wednesday morning.
“Rick drives her to work every morning and picks her up every day after school,” Diamond School District Superintendent Patricia Wilson said.
The Missouri Highway Patrol says heavy morning fog was a likely factor in three crashes near the overpass at 249 on I-44.
Dispatch received their first call regarding a traffic accident on I-44 at 6:43 a.m. Witnesses said after they passed under the overpass at 249 and 44, it was as if the lights went out and all was black.
Eight vehicles piled up, including three semis that mangled together as flames melted fiberglass and their cargo.
In all, it involved 16 cars, trucks and semis. Authorities say two people were killed, including Anthony Embrey, 41, of Joplin - who was in one of the cars. The other victim - a truck driver from Baxter, Tennessee - was William Campbell, 31.
A co-worker of Julia Price-Allison's said he could see the crash from his Joplin home.
I tried to call her on my cell phone. I knew it was time she'd be going through,” Albin said. “When the cell phone went directly to answering service I was afraid something happened.”
Rick Allison suffered burns over 13 percent of his body. Julia Price-Allison was burned on 8 percent of her body and broke her arm, according to hospital staff.
“Mrs. Price-Allison is a very intelligent woman, she understands math like nobody I've ever seen. Students love her. She's very fun-loving, very caring,” Wilson said. “I wanted to be with her, because I worked with Mrs. Price-Allison the past three years as a high school principal. I knew she didn't have family close, so I knew it would be important to her to have somebody there.”
It took 28 hours for the eastbound lanes of I-44 to be reopened due to cleanup and the investigation into the crash.