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Man, two teens killed in a crash on I-44 near Mt. Vernon, Mo.

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 4:20 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 6:21 PM CST
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MT. VERNON, Mo. (KY3) -The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a head-on crash on I-44 killed a man and two teenagers Sunday night.

The patrol says Evert Hair, 85, of Billings was eastbound in the westbound lanes when his pickup hit a car just after 9 p.m.

MSHP Troop D spokesperson Sam Carpenter said it appeared Hair left from a rest stop and accidentally went the wrong way.

Carpenter said this situation is fairly uncommon.

“It happens occasionally, but when it does happen, most people realize fairly quickly and get turned around,” Carpenter said. “We don’t have a lot of instances where people just continue to drive or we have a crash.”

Hair, and a driver and a passenger in the car, Izik Fudge, 17, and Nevaeh Aust, 17, both of Mt. Vernon, were killed in the crash.

Carpenter said in these instances, there is only so much a driver can do.

“Things happen really quickly,” he said. “There is no clear cut, definitive this is what you do when that happens. You know it was an unfortunate event, it was a horrible event.”

He said there is really only one option.

“If you are able to realize that there is somebody driving at you, obviously your option is to just get out of the way,” he said. “Whether that is to drive off the side of the road. It’s a horrible situation to be in.”

Carpenter said MSHP and the Missouri Department of Transportation do their best to prevent incidents like these.

“MoDOT does their very best to put signage up on our highways,” he said.

Carpenter said signs are generally very well marked when it comes to the direction drivers should head.

He also said driving at night can come along with its own dangers, but he said not driving while drowsy, using car lights, following signs and abiding by traffic laws are the best ways to stay safe.

The crash is still under investigation. While Carpenter said there is no way to know whether age had an impact, he said it is something people should discuss in general.

“Those are conversations that are very personal,” Carpenter said. “Those are conversations that need to be had within a family on a family level. Between a father and son. A mother and a daughter and parents and grandchildren.”

Having a license revoked is something that is up to the Missouri Department of Revenue.

“The thought of losing your driving privilege, and that’s exactly what it is in the state of Missouri, you don’t have a right to drive but you have a privilege,” Carpenter said. “The state also has the right to take that privilege away from you.”

Carpenter said if you ever have concerns, you should have a conversation with family about it or even consider the option of retesting.

The two teenagers killed were Mt. Vernon High School students.The district superintendent said Izik Fudge was a baseball player and Nevaeh Aust was a band member.

“When something like this happens of course the main thing you’re worried about is the mental health of staff and students,” Mt. Vernon Superintendent Scott Cook said.

Cook said the district did have extra counselors on staff Monday and plans to have them as long as needed. He also said other neighboring districts offered help and support.

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