Metro-East News

Third person dies after I-55 crash that killed Staunton sisters

Vivian Vu, a sophomore at Missouri Southern State University, died Thursday from injuries suffered in an eight-vehicle crash on Interstate 55, near Hamel.
Vivian Vu, a sophomore at Missouri Southern State University, died Thursday from injuries suffered in an eight-vehicle crash on Interstate 55, near Hamel.

A third person has died from an multivehicle crash near Hamel that killed two sisters Tuesday night.

Vivian Vu, of Joplin, Mo., was a sophomore at Missouri Southern State University majoring in international studies. She was driving back from a Model United Nations Conference in Chicago with other students and a faculty member when a tractor trailer crashed into seven vehicles on Interstate 55.

She died at 12:40 p.m. Thursday at a St. Louis hospital.

Vu was a 2016 graduate from Joplin High School and participated in the school’s Constitution Team. In college, she was in the honors program.

“Vivian was always smiling, always eager to have a conversation if she met you anywhere on campus,” said Michael Horwarth, the honors program director, in a statement from the university. “She was the kind of person you would talk with for five minutes and then want to spend another hour continuing the conversation.”

Two other people were killed and 11 injured in the accident.

Hailey Bertels, 20, and Madisen Bertels, 17, were sisters from Staunton. Both died at the scene. Madisen was a senior at Staunton High School, and Hailey was a 2015 graduate.

Staunton school officials talk about the tragedy, and how they are helping students and community heal after the death of two of their own.

Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel

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