Nixa woman killed after a Springfield man crashes into her car

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. A woman was killed in a multi-car crash in Springfield Tuesday afternoon.

Dana Sowards, 31 of Nixa, died after a car driven by Tommy Morris, 54 of Springfield, broadsided her in the intersection of Scenic Avenue and Mt. Vernon Street. Sowards' car then hit two other cars.

Raymond Maldenado was working at a church nearby when the accident happened.

"There was a loud bang. I mean it was really loud. I heard the third policeman show up. Then I heard another one. Altogether there must have been about 12 police cars out there. I knew something was wrong. That's when I turned the vacuum off and went out here by the front of the church and there it was. I mean, phew, it was bad," he explains.

Maldenado says he saw officers frantically trying to help people out of the crashed cars. That's when he overheard them talk about Sowards' condition.

"One woman is gone. The other guy, I don't know, what happened to him. They laid him out," he says.

Before the crash officers saw Morris hit an elderly man, with his car, while he was pushing a shopping cart at the Price Cutter parking lot near Chestnut Expressway and West Bypass. They chased him for a short distance before they lost sight of him.

It wasn't until after the accident that they caught up to him.

"We were not in an active pursuit at the time of the crash," says Lt. Stacey Parton with Springfield Police.

Jerry Hilton says she drives through this intersection a few times a day.

"It's a quiet neighborhood but as far as traffic, not that safe," she explains.

Hilton says she usually drives through this area very carefully.

"Down on Mt. Vernon and Scenic there's been I don't know how many wrecks from running the stop sign," she says.

Maldenado and Hilton say this is one of the worst accidents they've seen.

"It was a bad one," says Maldenado.

Hilton says, "Yours may not be but other people's lives are valuable, you know, they're loved. They've got family. They've got loved ones. So either drive like you're supposed to drive or don't drive."

Morris also has a felony drug warrant out for his arrest. Police aren't sure if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. He's being treated for non-life threatening injuries at the hospital. He will go to jail when he's released.

Four other people involved in the crash were not hurt.