COLUMBIA, Mo. - Five people have died in Columbia traffic crashes in the first two months of 2019, more than half the amount that died in all of 2018.
Wendy Garcia-Raygoza died in a head-on collision Thursday morning on East Broadway near the Hominy Creek Trail. Columbia police said Eunice McCaleb crossed the center line of the road before she hit her, and that icy road conditions may have played a part in the crash.
Police said Garcia was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
University Hospital officials said McCaleb was in fair condition on Thursday night.
Data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol shows that nine people died in all of 2018 in traffic crashes in Columbia. At least two of them were not wearing seat belts, according to city news releases from that year.
The traffic deaths in 2019 include:
- Jason Harvey, 44, who died whole standing on Highway 63 on Jan. 1
- Gabrielle Curry, 4, died when a Columbia police officer hit her outside Battle High School on Jan. 4.
- David Brunk, 61, died when a driver hit him on Old Highway 63 on Feb. 3.
- Jordan Hoyt, 37, died when a driver hit her head-on on West Boulevard on Feb. 16.
City staff said that there is no good data to measure how prevalent seat belt usage is in the city. State estimates show that 75 to 80 percent of drivers use seat belts, but that non-seat belt users were over represented in deadly crashes.
Richard Stone with Columbia Public Works said pedestrians and motorcyclists were over represented in Columbia crash numbers. He hoped that the city's Vision Zero plan, which calls for zero traffic deaths by 2030, will help the city explore why this is the case. The plan calls for multiple departments, such as public works, police and fire, to work together to review the characteristics of deadly crashes.
"It's good to have the leverage from Vision Zero in getting more people involved on a methodical basis to answer those types of questions," Stone said.