Cheryl Hanssen, who was a passenger in the vehicle, says it was too dark at the time they were passing the collapse to notice any rocks in the roadway. By the time either of them were able to identify obstructions, the vehicle slammed into the rocks and was totaled.
A rock wall along Highway 54 eastbound between Nichols and Case Road collapsed Sunday night, causing a multi-vehicle accident. Highway personnel spent the night and next morning cleaning up the debris.
Osage Beach Police Lieutenant Mike O’Day sent out a release to media stating that a 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan driven by 34-year-old Victor Bautiasta of Osage Beach was traveling eastbound when a large rock fell on his vehicle causing heavy front-end damage. Bautiasta was transported to Lake Regional with minor injuries.
Also among those affected were Cheryl and Fred Hanssen. Driving his 2016 Chrysler Town and Country minivan, 84-year-old Fred Hanssen was traveling eastbound. As he approached the area where the rockslide was, he struck a large rock that was in the roadway causing damage to the left front side of his vehicle.
Cheryl Hanssen, who was a passenger in the vehicle, says it was too dark at the time they were passing the collapse to notice any rocks in the roadway. By the time either of them were able to identify obstructions, the vehicle slammed into the rocks and was totaled. Both passengers were unharmed, besides a few bruises.
“It felt like we hit a brick wall,” Cheryl Hanssen said.
Cheryl says they have been living in Osage Beach since April and having taken that exit dozens of times. She says they have been looking at that particular rock on the wall, waiting for it to finally drop. She says that they have been concerned about it’s precarious positioning and have wondered why no one has taken action to prevent this.
Road operations have resumed as normal, though officials ask for all travelers to keep an eye out for any suspicious rock movement on the bluffs for the time being.
Traffic will continue to see restrictions on U.S. Route 54 in Osage Beach following a rock slide Sunday evening which left debris across both lanes of the roadway.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is currently working to clear debris and remove further loose rocks from the bluff along the road. Geologists are also surveying the area to determine the cause of the collapse and if further safety precautions are necessary.
One eastbound Route 54 lane between Nichols Road and Case Road, as well as the Route 54 eastbound ramp to southbound Case Road are closed to traffic until further notice. Traffic may still access eastbound Route 54 in this area, but motorists are advised to slow down and stay alert in work zones. Updates on the lane and ramp opening will be posted when available.