Rescue crews are on the scene after a semi plowed into a busy diner Friday night.
Missouri Highway Patrol authorities said a man who was a customer inside the diner has died. Joseph E. Cole, 54, of Nevada died at the scene.
Cpl. James Wilde said two people with serious injuries were flown by a medical helicopter to a hospital in Joplin.Those two were John Becker, 72, of Nevada, and Roger E. Berning, 60, of El Dorado Springs, Mo.
A Springfield hospital was ready to receive a patient by air ambulance.
A Nevada Regional Medical Center spokesman said his facility has treated three patients with minor injuries, primarily cuts and bruises. One of those who suffered moderate injuries was Pamela S. Hoover, 47, of Nevada.
The crash happened at 4:58 p.m. at the Quick Dine when the semi driver tried to avoid a 25-year-old driver who failed to yield the right of way, Wilde said. Quick Dine is at Osage and Atlantic streets just off U.S. 71.
Wilde said a Nevada police sergeant on routine patrol saw the entire crash. Wilde said the sergeant was stopped at a stop sign behind another vehicle. The semi driver was pulling from the highway south on Osage when the driver in front of the patrol car pulled out.
The semi driver tried to avoid "center punching" the 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass and hit his brakes and turned right, Wilde said.
The semi clipped the car "and wound up sliding into the Quick Dine," Wilde said.
Daniel R. Coffman, 60, of Nevada, was driving the semi. The westbound driver was Patrick M. Crews of Nevada.
The two drivers are shaken but weren't injured, the trooper said. Both were wearing seatbelts.
Wilde said "quite a few" were injured but were treated at the scene or sought medical treatment on their own.
Many rushed to the scene to give aid or check on loved ones at the diner.
"Everybody knows everybody," Wilde said about the small town.
Nevada Mayor Brian Leonard said the town's medical helicopter has been "flying back and forth." He praised police, fire and ambulance crews who responded to the tragedy.
"Our prayers go out to everybody involved," he said.
He said crews practice regularly for catastrophes.
"We just hope nothing like this would ever occur, but it has tonight," he said. "They are handling it very professionally."
The Missouri Highway Patrol is leading up the investigation. Osage Street is closed Friday night.
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