Gov. Nixon sore after traffic accident

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said his neck was a little sore but he was otherwise fine after being involved in a traffic accident Friday in Jefferson City.

Nixon was treated and released from a hospital after the Missouri State Highway Patrol car in which he was riding was rear-ended in a three-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 50, just a few blocks south of the Capitol. A patrol report said the governor was not wearing a seat belt.

Nixon continued with his scheduled public events, though he arrived a little late to a speech at Adair County High School in the northern Missouri community of Brashear.

“My neck’s a little sore,” Nixon told the Kirksville Daily Express while at the school event. “We’re going to be sore, but we’ll be fine.”

Patrol Sgt. Jeffrey Coulson, who was driving the vehicle, also was treated for minor injuries and released from Capital Region Medical Center.

The accident happened about 9 a.m. when a car driven by 18-year-old Donald Potter, of Holts Summit, struck a car driven by Rebecca Libbert, 54, of Jefferson City. Her vehicle than was pushed into the rear of the patrol’s 2007 Ford Crown Victoria, which sustained about $1,500 damage. The patrol originally had said Nixon was in a Chevrolet Suburban, which it also uses to transport the governor.

Patrol spokesman Sgt. Paul Reinsch said no citations were issued for any traffic violations, and neither of the other drivers were injured.

Everyone in the accident besides Nixon was wearing a seat belt. Missouri law requires seat belts for all drivers and front-seat passengers but does not require adults riding in rear seats to wear seat belts. Nixon was riding in the rear of the patrol car, Reinsch said.

Nixon spokeswoman Christy Bertelson said she had no explanation for why Nixon was not wearing a seat belt. She said he was taken to the hospital as a standard precaution.

“When he is involved in an accident, it’s just a matter of protocol to take him to the emergency room and check him out,” Bertelson said.

The section of highway where the accident occurred has multiple lanes, numerous traffic signals and is one of the busiest roads in Jefferson City. Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said he believed the governor was on his way to the airport when the accident occurred.

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