A missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was critically injured in a traffic mishap in Oklahoma. Sister Nancy Vea, originally from the the West Jordan Cobble Creek Stake in West Jordan, UT and currently serving in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission out of Charleston, AR since May 2014, is reported to be on life support as of this post. The Tulsa World has a better account of the accident. KSTU Channel 13 also published an informative story. FOX 23 in Tulsa has a photo of the accident scene.
The mishap occurred on August 22nd, 2014 at around 8:30 A.M. CDT. Sister Vea was part of a group of three other missionaries and two regular LDS members heading southbound in a 2002 Dodge van on the Muskogee Turnpike from Greenwood, AR to Tulsa. A comment posted by Becky Bowman to the World implies they may have been enroute to a "conference", quite possibly a zone conference. The driver of the van, identified as 53-year-old Duane Carter of Greenwood, had missed an exit. Spotting an emergency cutout or barricade turnaround in the center median at mile marker 7 near Coweta, Carter abruptly slowed down to use it. The driver of a tractor-trailer immediately following the van jammed on his brakes. However, a 16-passenger VA van following the tractor-trailer did not react in time and struck the eighteen wheeler in the rear, propelling it into the Dodge van. The collision ejected Sister Vea from the van, since she was not wearing a seat belt.
Sister Vea was flown to St. John Medical Center in critical condition. Eighteen-year-old missionary Brady Osborne, originally from Las Vegas, was admitted to the hospital with head and internal trunk injuries. Three other passengers, including 19-year-old missionary McKell Peterson from Brigham City, and the driver from the Dodge van were treated and released from St. John Medical Center. The truck driver declined treatment at the scene. The driver of the VA bus was uninjured, and the five passengers were all treated and released from the VA hospital in Muskogee. FOX 23 says Duane Carter is likely to be ticketed for the illegal U-turn after toxicology reports are received.
A local church member, Gary Hughey, was quite impressed with Sister Vea's spirit:
"Just a beautiful, beautiful spirit, had just a very flowing personality. She had a certain sparkle in her eye. In Hawaii they would call it the ohana, which means the family. The mana about her, her spirit, her spirit was just so vibrant. You could just feel that she had a great love for, for everybody and for everything."
There's a comment posted to the Deseret News by Brent T. that leads me to believe there'll be an update to this story before long. And apparently Brent T. learned of Sister Vea's death through another channel.