Emergency workers were busy Friday with two Ozark County crashes within two hours

The driver of this Dodge pickup truck was arrested Friday morning, March 27, after fleeing the scene before authorities arrived. He was arrested a short time later, uninjured, after officers were made aware that he had active warrants from both Taney County and Kansas City. He was booked and released at the Ozark County Jail after officials in both areas declined to receive him amid COVID-19 concerns. Photo submitted.

First responders and emergency personnel were on the scene of a second crash that occurred Friday morning, March 27, when a black 1997 Chevrolet pickup crossed the centerline of J Highway and hit a 2011 Toyota Corolla. The two vehicles collided about 8:05 a.m. near the junction of Highways J and T. Both vehicles continued on after impact and came to rest some distance from each other. Above: Ozark County Ambulance EMT Aaron Bellcock, left, and Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Jim Britt, back to camera, speak with 45-year-old Kevin Merglewski of Tecumseh, who was driving the pickup. Below: Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Curtis Dobbs, left, and MSHP officer John Roberts work the scene of the two-vehicle crash on J Highway about 11 miles south of Gainesville. This Corolla was struck by the Dodge pickup. The Corolla’s driver, 28-year-old Kayla Trail, was transported to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas, with minor injuries.

First responders and other emergency personnel were busy Friday, March 27, responding to two vehicle crashes that occurred within an hour and a half. 

First responders from Gainesville Volunteer Fire Department, along with the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol, were toned out to the first crash, which happened near the Gainesville square at 6:46 a.m. 

Officers and Lick Creek VFD first responders were then toned out shortly after 8 a.m. to work a two-vehicle collision on J Highway near its intersection with T Highway. 


Rollover accident on Lick Creek Bridge

OCSD received the call about the single-vehicle rollover crash on the Lick Creek bridge, just east of the Gainesville square on Highway 160, at 6:46 a.m. The call was made by a passerby who saw the crash and stopped to check on the driver and passenger, who told the woman they were uninjured. 

Ozark County Sheriff’s Cpl. Curtis Dobbs told the Times that when the sheriff’s department and the MSHP arrived on scene, both the driver and passenger had fled. After a short foot pursuit, officers apprehended the men. 

The driver, who had active warrants from both Taney County and Kansas City, was arrested and transported to the Ozark County Jail. After booking him at the sheriff’s office, deputies called Taney County to arrange transport to their jail; however, Taney County Jail said because the man was not a violent offender and with the current circumstances involving COVID-19, they did not want to accept him at the jail. The Kansas City warrants were only for arrest within a 40-mile radius of that city.

The man was booked and released. 

Dobbs said the man could potentially be charged with fleeing the scene of an accident in Ozark County in connection with the incident. The identities of the driver and passenger have not yet been released. 


Two-vehicle collision on J Highway

Kayla Trail, 28, of Dora was transported by ambulance to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas, after sustaining minor injuries in the two-vehicle collision on J Highway around 8 a.m. Friday. According to the MSHP online crash report, Trail was traveling northbound on J Highway about 11 miles south of Gainesville, near T Highway, in a 2011 Toyota Corolla when a southbound 1997 Chevrolet pickup crossed the center line and struck her vehicle. The pickup was driven by 45-year-old Kevin Merglewski of Tecumseh. The pickup was a total loss; the car sustained extensive damage. Both were towed from the scene. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts. Trail had vehicle insurance, but Merglewski did not, according to the online report. The crash was investigated by MSHP Cpl. N. Jim Britt, assisted by Cpl. John Roberts. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423