Tractor-trailer runs off 19 at county line Driver’s wife, two children injured

Dave Marner

Volunteer firemen from Owensville and Cuba worked quickly Friday to extricate two children and their mother trapped the crushed cab of a tractor-trailer their father was driving when it left Highway 19 and  went over onto its side.

Elionai Ziupi, 13, was seriously injured in the crash reported to the Owensville Fire Department at 7:48 p.m.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s report by Trooper R.T. Smith out of Troop I, the boy’s father, Komlan M. Ziupi, 41, was driving a 2012 International tractor-trailer south on Highway 19 in Gasconade County approaching the Crawford County line. The tractor-trailer went off the right side of the road and rolled over onto its side, striking a fence, and then traveled a short distance before coming to a stop. The county line road sign was struck and knocked down by the tractor.

Sgt. A.B. Swearingin said the driver was likely going “too fast for conditions” when the crash occurred.

The boy was flown by Air Evac helicopter ambulance to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis with serious injuries, according to the Patrol’s report. A younger brother, Jauan Ziupi, 8, was transported by Owensville Area Ambulance District personnel to Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan for treatment of  “moderate injuries,” the Patrol reported.

Their mother, Chery M. Lipki, 35, had minor injuries and was the last of the family members freed from the wreckage. A large cooler had her wedged into the crushed cab and sleeper compartment, according to Swearingin. She was transported by North Crawford County ambulance personnel to Missouri Baptist in Sullivan for treatment of minor injuries.

The family is from Memphis, Tenn. Ziupi’s cargo was pallets of cardboard boxes. He refused medical treatment at the scene.

Both he and his wife were wearing seat belts but the boys were unrestrained in the sleeping compartment, according to Swearingin.

No condition report was available on the boy transported to Children’s Hospital.