New signage installed at Haskins Ford crossing
Additional signs reading “No Crossing When Water Is Over Road” have been installed at Haskins Ford, where County Road 863 crosses the upper reaches of Bull Shoals Lake. Western Ozark County Commissioner Greg Donley said the bridge cannot safely be crossed until the lake level is at 664 feet elevation or below. At press time Tuesday, the Corps of Engineers website reported the lake at 662.5 feet. At high lake levels, water also runs over the road leading up to the bridge, and these flooded spots can also be unsafe to cross. The new fold-down signs were installed closer to the actual crossing while signs reading “Danger High Water Ahead” are located farther up the hill.
Recent incidents at the crossing include a November 2019 incident when the vehicle in which Mary and Franklin Treece were traveling floated into the lake at Haskins Ford after when they drove into water that covered the road leading to the crossing in the early hours of a foggy morning. The couple managed to swim to shore and were able to call for help on Mary’s cell phone, which miraculously worked after being submerged in the cold water. After warming up in a responding vehicle and being checked out by the Ozark County Ambulance crew, the couple drove home where their seven children were being watched by babysitters.
Nine months earlier, in February 2019, Casey Dawn Shelton, her 6-month-old baby Chaseton and her roommate Richard Corn survived a similar incident when Corn drove their Chrysler LeBaron into the water covering the road at Haskins Ford and the car floated downstream. The couple swam to shore, carrying the 6-month-old baby and a small dog that was also riding in the car. With no phone, they spent about thee hours on the bank in 30-degree weather waiting for a car to come along. Finally, Dan Donley spotted them while he was out checking on his cattle. Shelton and Chaseton were transported to Mercy Hospital by Air Evac; Corn was transported by ambulance. All three recovered from their ordeal.
In February 2013, former Thornfield residents Pam and Charles Stoker drove their Toyota Scion into water covering Haskins Ford and were swept about 50 yards downstream. They managed to climb onto the Scion’s roof, and Pam called 911 on her cell phone. By the time Missouri State Highway Patrol officers rescued them by boat about two hours after they went into the water, nearly 40 people – friends and first responders – had gathered on the lake’s shoreline, watching helplessly because the current was too strong for swimming and the bank was too muddy to launch a boat. The Stokers later moved to Arkansas. Charles Stoker died in December 2017.