Oklahoma teens injured in I-44 church van wreck
A group of teens, in two vans, was traveling through southwest Missouri on Interstate 44 on the first leg of a trip to Chicago. About 25 miles northeast of Springfield, at 11:45 a.m., the tread separated from the left rear tire of one of the vans, driven by B.J. Feuerhelm, age 24. Feuerhelm steered the vehicle to keep it from oncoming traffic. The van went into a ditch and flipped, said church elder Max Pope.
Most of the occupants were transported to Cox Medical Center South, Springfield, Mo. Some received treatment for injuries including broken arms and shoulders, cracked vertebrae and a ruptured spleen.
Four students were admitted. Lincoln Ault, Chase Hendley and Brandon Wheeler were released within days. Lezlie Carter suffered a punctured lung, broken collarbone and a severe head trauma.
Her mother, Debbie Carter, told church members that she has received more than 300 e-mails at the hospital in Springfield.
“The hospital staff … is having trouble getting all of the e-mails processed because you have jammed their system!” Debbie Carter said in a letter to Memorial Road members.
In mid-June Lezlie Carter was transferred to a hospital in Oklahoma City, her mother said. She has opened her eyes and is moving.
At least five congregations in Springfield and the surrounding area overwhelmed the group with lodging, food and support.
“The church in Springfield really is what the church should be,” Pope said.
For updates, see www.mrcc.org.