Police identify two victims in head-on accident on Highway 61

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UPDATE: Police have identified the two victims as 52-year-old Roger A. Peek and 39-year-old Eugene O. Haggard. Police say Peek crossed the median into the northbound lanes.

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A terrible crash on northbound U.S. 61, just past the Interstate 70 split killed 2 people in Wentzville, Wednesday afternoon.

It happened just after 4:00 P.M.

Northbound 61 was closed for nearly 4 hours.

They wondered if seat belts might have made a life-saving difference. Neither of the men who died was wearing one.

“I have no idea why one driver crossed over; why he failed to maintain control of his vehicle,” said Sgt. Kerry Potter of the Missouri Highway Patrol.   “Vehicle 1 (car), a passenger vehicle was Southbound on 61.  He was on the inside lane, lane 1.  He failed to maintain control of his vehicle and crossed over the median (a wide 60 ft. grass median) and hit a northbound vehicle (pickup truck) head on. “

The traffic back- up stretched for close to 3 miles, spilling onto westbound 70, with the ramp to 61 closed.

Firefighters had to extricate the bodies of two men, the two drivers, both of whom were dead at the scene.   They were the only people in the vehicles.

Firefighters and tow crews also had to clear all the debris – the two vehicles seemingly exploding upon impact.

“From eyewitness statements, they were going around the speed limit, so about 60 mph, each…no seat belts were used in this accident,” Potter said.  “This median here is about 60 feet wide. If it was narrow like the one on 70 there would probably a median cable in there for this type of accident.”

Authorities did not release the drivers' names Wednesday night.

A 3rd vehicle suffered minor damage from the flying debris.  The driver was not hurt.

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