Warsaw woman dies in Lincoln crash

December 27, 2010

A 71-year-old Warsaw woman was killed Sunday in a single-vehicle accident in Lincoln, according to Lincoln Police Chief Mickey Mittlestadt.

Mittlestadt said the accident occurred at about 12:45 p.m. Sunday, as 71-year-old Melvin E. Hopkins, of Warsaw, was driving south on U.S. Highway 65 in Lincoln. Hopkins traveled across the northbound lanes, crossing the intersection of U.S. 65 and Main Street and crashing into steel sign supports.

Hopkins was hospitalized after the crash. His wife, Lois M. Hopkins, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Mittlestadt.

Mittlestadt said Lincoln police were still investigating the accident, but no charges were pending.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported that Lois Hopkins was one of two people who died in crashes on highways across the state during the Christmas holiday weekend counting period, which ran from 6 p.m. Thursday through midnight Sunday.

In the other fatal crash, Catherine A. Binger, 49, of Wappapello, died Sunday when the vehicle she was driving ran off the roadway and struck a tree about 13 miles north of Poplar Bluff.

During the holiday weekend, troopers investigated 487 traffic crashes, which included one of the two fatal accidents and 122 injuries.

The number of crashes, deaths and injuries were each down from the 2009 counting period, when the Highway Patrol investigated 494 crashes, which included 11 fatalities and 148 injuries.

“Enforcement and education are two important factors in reducing the number of people killed and injured on Missouri’s roadways,” Col. Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Highway Patrol, said in a news release. “The Patrol will continue to focus on both of these areas to make travel in our state safer.”

The two highway traffic deaths this year was the lowest total ever for a 78-hour Christmas holiday counting period since the Highway Patrol began tracking such statistics in 1978. In 1996 and 2002, there were just one and two fatalities, respectively; but those counting periods only totaled 30 hours.

However, Replogle noted the number of arrests for driving while intoxicated increased this year. Troopers arrested 51 people for driving while intoxicated during this year’s counting period, compared to 42 arrests over the 2009 Christmas holiday weekend.