The Sedalia Police Department has confirmed the identity of a Sedalia woman who was killed and her husband who was seriously injured in the truck crash at Wendy’s on Monday.
SPD Cpl. A.J. Silvey said 80-year-old Carol Barnes was killed when a pickup truck crashed into Wendy’s, 1301 S. Limit Ave., early Monday evening.
Her husband, Donald Barnes, 85, was taken by Life Flight to University Hospital in Columbia. Silvey said he was still in serious condition Tuesday night.
Barnes was an 18th Judicial Circuit presiding judge in Pettis County for 28 years, retiring as a senior judge in 2005, according to “Legendary Locals of Sedalia.” He was responsible for launching the project to hang murals on the walls of the third-floor courtroom at the Pettis County Courthouse.
Both he and his wife were active in the Pettis County community through numerous organizations. Carol was most known for her involvement in the Helen G. Steele Music Club and Church Women United. She was the first faculty music instructor at State Fair Community College, according to “Legendary Locals of Sedalia.”
According to Silvey, at 5:58 p.m. Monday, a truck was traveling south on South Limit Avenue when it suddenly veered east and left the roadway in front of the American Inn, 1217 S. Limit Ave. It traveled through some landscaping and then struck the front of the Wendy’s dining room.
“Exactly why (the vehicle left the road), we don’t know yet,” Silvey said Monday night at the scene.
The initial information from SPD given to the Democrat at the scene Monday night indicated the driver, later identified as 62-year-old Dennis K. Weaver, of Sedalia, had been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and taken to the Pettis County Jail after being taken to Bothwell Regional Health Center as a precaution. Silvey told the Democrat on Tuesday that information had evolved and that Weaver was still hospitalized as of Tuesday night.
“There was an alcohol use detected on scene, so he (Weaver) was placed under arrest due to that. However, he was taken to Bothwell where he was admitted,” Silvey said Tuesday. “At this time, charges are not being sought, however, the investigation is still early, we’re waiting to get all of our findings before anything proceeds.”
Silvey said eight people were in the front portion of the dining room when the truck crashed into the restaurant.
In addition to Donald Barnes, four other people were injured. Brandon P. McNulty, 40, of Sedalia, and his 11-year-old son, of Marshall, suffered moderate injuries, according to an SPD accident report. The report states Christina R. Ward, 35, of Marshall, and William D. Erwin, 39, of Warsaw, suffered minor injuries. Silvey said Tuesday that no one remained hospitalized except Donald Barnes.
“This was a major tragedy, very, very sad. That’s a hard one for our community,” Silvey said. “The whole thing, as part of my investigation I’ve seen security video. Obviously we have people who were unlucky but we have some people who were very lucky. I hope and pray we never have an incident like that again in my career.”
The Sedalia Wendy’s location is owned by Hamra Enterprises. Eve Metheny, director of marketing for Hamra, said the company is grateful no employees were hurt and is thankful for the first responders who helped Monday night.
“We do have plans to deliver breakfast or lunch to the first responders, the local police, fire department that graciously came over so quickly to help everyone,” Metheny said. “That’s part of our plan sometime this week.”
Almost the entire glass front of Wendy’s was destroyed, with glass strewn along the sidewalk and inside the building. Bricks had been thrown into the dining area by the crash and could be seen on the floor next to a table that still had food and food wrappers on it from someone’s dinner meal.
Chad Halley, director of facilities for Hamra, was at Wendy’s Monday night and Tuesday morning overseeing the cleanup process. A ServPro crew was cleaning out the debris from inside the building Tuesday morning and sanitizing the area, Halley said. He said Hamra is also working with the Pettis County Health Department and City of Sedalia building inspectors.
The broken windows were boarded up Monday night and will stay that way until further notice, both Metheny and Halley said. There is no date to reopen the restaurant, but Halley said the bidding process would start this week to find a company to repair the damage. He said the building wasn’t structurally affected by the crash but windows, a portion of the wall and the interior were damaged.
Silvey said the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crash Team will be assisting the SPD Traffic Unit with the investigation.
“The crash team has a drone program they use to map a crash scene which gives us a nice scale diagram to work with,” he explained. “I’ll meet with them Friday ... to investigate further into the vehicle involved.”
Witnesses are encouraged to contact the SPD Traffic Unit at 660-826-1000.