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Update: Police still investigating intoxication in wrong way crash

UPDATE 8/30: University Hospital staff tells ABC 17 News Roger Dickey, the wrong way driver remains hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday. They say both the passenger in Dickey’s vehicle and the driver who was hit head-on are now in fair condition.

UPDATE 8/29: Columbia police say intoxicated driving is still under investigation as part of a multi-car highway crash involving a driver heading the wrong way.

Police first said Monday afternoon that the man driving the wrong way on Highway 63 Sunday was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time. However, spokeswoman Bryana Larimer said later that day the possibility of intoxicated driving, whether it be drugs or alcohol, was still pending.

Columbia police identified the driver Monday as 50-year-old Roger Dickey of Jefferson City.

They say Dickey was driving southbound in the northbound lanes just after 7:00pm Sunday. He apparently caused three vehicles to swerve off the road before eventually causing a head-on crash.

Late Monday, police released the names and some details of how the crash happened. Near the Discovery Parkway exit, 28-year-old Casey Richter swerved from the left lane to the right to avoid Dickey’s 2003 Ford Taurus. He then slid back to the left, crashing into the median. Two other drivers – Morgan Rundle, 20, and Seren Acar, 22 – swerved right to avoid Dickey, and ended up hitting each other.

Police say Dickey and his passenger, Beckey Dickey, suffered serious injuries. The driver of the vehicle hit head-on, 27-year-old Ross Arntzen, also suffered serious injuries in the crash.

University Hospital staff told ABC 17 News Monday Becky Dickey is now in fair condition and said Roger Dickey was not listed in its system as a patient. University Hospital staff says this could mean the patient is still under a trauma name or could have been released.

Dickey was arrested on May 26 in Jefferson City for driving while intoxicated. Police there said in a probable cause statement that Dickey got out of his car while it was still on and in gear around 8 p.m. The car rolled across Monroe Street and hit the parking garage there near East Capitol Avenue. An officer said Dickey admitted he had four shots of alcohol that night, but his breath sample showed a BAC below the legal limit. He told the officer, though, that he had “several” prescription pills, “including an anti-depressant.”

“In my opinion as a Drug Recognition Expert, Dickey was under the influence of Alcohol and CNS Depressant and was not able to safely operate a motor vehicle,” the officer wrote.

Dickey later bonded out that night with $200, charged with misdemeanor DWI. His release conditions did not contain any restrictions on driving or alcohol consumption.

Dickey did not return a call by ABC 17 News Monday night.

UPDATE: Highway 63 is now open after a multi vehicle crash closed down a portion of the highway.

ORIGINAL: Three people are in the hospital after a wrong way driver was traveling southbound on the northbound side of Highway 63.

The call came in to emergency crews around 7:15 p.m.

Several cars were damaged during the wreck near the Discovery Parkway exit, while others tried to stay out of the way, swerving away from vehicle.

A witness who called Boone County Joint Communications says, the driver and his female passenger were both taken away in an ambulance.

Kayla Zwonitzer and her boyfriend were driving parallel to the wrong way driver, when she called for help. Zwonitzer says cars were swerving in and out, skidding off the road. “It’s not something you think you’ll ever see, I only heard and saw these things in movies,” Zwonitzer said, “when you keep seeing a cluster of cars going by you just hope nothing happens.”

A portion of Highway 63 is closed.

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information. It was previously titled, ‘Wrong-way driver on Highway 63 not under the influence at time of crash.’)

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