22-Year-Old Destiny Mantia’s life was changed forever last September. A drunk driver killed her husband Corey and 15-month-old son Parker in a head-on collision.
Many who live in the area call the crash site a death trap. The accident happened on Highway 47 in Lincoln County, near Gerding Road.
Even the Missouri Department of Transportation calls the roadway a problem. Improving the highway was on a list of projects MoDot wanted to fund, had voters approved a new sales tax in August. Following this latest tragedy, some are calling on the state to find another way.
At one time, farmland and a few scattered houses are just about all you’d find along the stretch of Highway 47 where the crash happened.
Now, the landscape looks much different, and so does the traffic.
“I told a buddy of mine today, that’s probably the way I’ll die, is somebody will hit me head on, on this road,” Ron Daniels said. Daniels has spent most of his life in the area.
In the past several years, Daniels has been pushing state and local lawmakers to make some changes. The sound of sirens he hears constantly makes his mission all the more urgent.
“It’s usually somebody seriously, serious hurt, or it’s fatal,” Daniels said.
That was the case Saturday night, just as the sun was setting. Crash reports show 42-year-old Shanna Cook, of Tennessee, crossed the center line on a curve in the road, hitting another car head-on.
That car was carrying the Mantia family of Winfield, Missouri. Cook and 1-year-old Parker Mantia were pronounced dead on the scene. 22-year-old Corey Mantia died Sunday night at the hospital. 21-year-old Destiny Mantia is in serious condition.
Soon after the crash, an online petition began circulating calling for improvements the roadway.
“Why is nothing being done?” Daniels said.
MoDot told NewsChannel 5 it had planned to add shoulders to the roadway, on the stretch between Troy and Hawk Point. It was one of the projects listed on the 10-year plan, but voters turned down the sales tax to fund the plan.
“We know that it is a need, but there are so many needs in our state and there is just not enough funding to go around to make all those needs happen in a timely fashion,” MoDot Spokeswoman Marisa Ellison said.
“It’s easier to say ‘we can’t do it,’ then it is to get in there and do it. That’s what it seems like to me,” Daniels said.
According to the crash report from Saturday night’s accident, the little boy and his father were both buckled up.
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