On July 12, 2016, the Missouri Department of Transportation and Communications (MDOTC) and Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP) were preparing to close Interstate 69 in the Mo-Dot, Missouri, area to traffic, to avoid a crash that claimed two lives and injured dozens more.
The highway was closed for six hours.
The closure, which had been expected to last through August, was delayed when a contractor had to be hospitalized.
The contractor, John Lutcher, had been working at the MoDOTC’s facility at the time of the crash.
After Lutchers death, the MO DOTC and MHP declared a state of emergency.
The MO DOT and MHC issued a directive to their respective agencies, directing that a thorough investigation be conducted by MDOTC and MDOTP, and that all vehicles be removed from the interstate.
At that time, the MDOTIH was also ordered to make an investigation of Lutcchers death.
“While MDOT is working to identify and interview the person who caused the crash, MDOTIC is also taking all necessary steps to provide information to law enforcement agencies as it investigates the incident,” a memo from the MO state highway patrol stated.
“It is imperative that the public is informed of the results of our investigation and that everyone who has witnessed or witnessed the incident knows the facts and what happened.”
The memo, which was provided to Recode, stated that MDOT was aware of the collision and the accident, and had been conducting a thorough inquiry into the crash’s cause and its impact on the Mo DOTC’s work and safety program.
The memo did not mention any of the individuals who died in the crash; however, it did say that MDOMP was in communication with local law enforcement, including the Missouri Highway Safety Patrol.
MDOMC, in turn, told Recode that it was not in contact with MDOT and MOHP at the moment, nor were they aware of any investigation.
The MDOT memo noted that, “MDOT is in a position to provide additional information to state agencies as the investigation continues.”
A timeline for the investigation of the MO-DOT crash can be found here.
The timing of the investigation has not been determined.
A message was left for Lutchner’s family at his home.
The following is a timeline of the events surrounding the crash: July 12: MDOT’s crash investigation begins at the MO State Highway Patrol office.
July 12-13: MDOMPs crash investigation at MDOT headquarters, which includes the Missouri State Highway Safety Officers (SSOs) assigned to the MoMHP.
July 13: MDOHP’s crash investigators arrive at MDOMS headquarters.
July 14: MDOPS crash investigators speak with the MDOHPs crash investigators, which include the MO Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, the ATF, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
July 15: MDSOs crash investigation concludes at MDOCS headquarters, the federal agency’s crash and crash investigation division, which handles federal civil and criminal matters.
July 16: MDOS crash investigation is finished at MDO headquarters, where the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and other federal law enforcement personnel are present.
The FBI’s JTTF is investigating the MO police department’s response to the crash and possible involvement in the death of Lutscher.
July 17: MDOGP’s investigation concludes, and the MDO investigation concludes.
July 18: MDODP’s JTC is opened to the public, and a public hearing is held to review the MDOCs findings and recommendations.
July 20: MDOVS crash investigation ends at MDOGS headquarters in St. Louis.
MDOTD and MDOC report the crash to the federal government.
July 21: A grand jury is convened in St Louis.
The grand jury concludes that the crash was caused by a “negligent” driver and that the MO trooper’s actions were not willful or intentional.
The US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri announced a federal criminal investigation into the MO department and its actions.
The Missouri State Patrol also announced that it would be conducting its own investigation.
In addition to the state highway department, MDOC, MDOD, MDOG, and MDODS have a number of local partners that are investigating.
“We’re still gathering information, and we’ll be sharing that information as it becomes available,” the MDOD memo states.
“In the meantime, the state of Missouri will continue to work with the US Attorney’s office to pursue the charges against those involved in the accident.”
The MDOG and MDO investigations are separate, but are still being looked into by different agencies, and it is possible that the cases will be merged, according to the MDOG memo.