Wrong-way driver kills couple in their 80s in Jefferson County crash


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Two people are dead after a crash in rural Jefferson County and authorities believe one of the drivers may have been under the influence of drugs.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the crash happened just before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday

Investigators said Katie Palmer was driving on the wrong side of the road when she hit a Hyundai Tucson head-on; it went airborne and struck a third vehicle.

“When they arrived and started speaking with the driver, they determined that she was under the influence of some sort of drug,” said Corporal Dallas Thompson, Missouri State Highway Patrol. “They did some sobriety tests on her and determined that she was indeed impaired and they placed her under arrest for driving while intoxicated.”

State police said 85-year-old John Rinkus was driving the Tucson and his wife, 87-year-old Helen Rinkus, was in the passenger seat. They were both pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Thompson said there have been 12 fatalities in the last 10 days in Troop C alone, which is much higher than usual.

State police will be keeping an extra close eye out for speeders, reckless drivers and those who may be under the influence this Independence Day weekend.

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