Fatal crash in Andrew County

SAVANNAH, Mo. — Small automotive-related parts seem to be all that’s left behind from the scene of a fatal wreck late Wednesday night in rural Andrew County.

A 16-year-old driver was killed and a teenage passenger suffered serious injuries the wreck, which occurred on a county road a half mile southwest of Savannah, Missouri — virtually right on the city’s residential outskirts.

Darren L. Richardson, 16, of St. Joseph died at the scene of the accident, which happened at 11:27 p.m. on County Road 366, one mile west of Missouri Route DD. A passenger, McKenzie L. Ishmael, 16, of Savannah, was taken to Mosaic Life Care with injuries described as serious.

Darren was a former student in the St. Joseph School District. Dr. Tim Mattson, assistant superintendent of Savannah R-III School District, confirmed McKenzie is a junior at the Savannah High School.

Mosaic declined to release any additional information about her condition, due to privacy restrictions imposed by HIPAA.

Mattson said grief counselors have been made available to the Savannah study body, although many students were out of class on Thursday due to a field trip. Counselors will continue to be available to students, he added.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate the cause of the accident, according to Sgt. Jacob Angle of the Troop H office. The patrol’s Major Crash Investigation Team responded to the scene overnight to take measurements, he said, and returned Thursday morning to review those readings. The body was taken to a Kansas City forensics firm for an autopsy.

Angle declined to speculate on what may have contributed to the accident.

“Hopefully, we’ll know more in the coming days,” he said.

The patrol’s accident report said Richardson’s 1998 Pontiac Pontiac Grand Prix was westbound on County Route 366 when the vehicle started to skid. The patrol said the car eventually went off the left side of the road and struck a tree.

Neither passenger was wearing seat belts, the report added.

Ray Scherer can be reached at ray.scherer@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPScherer.