160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThe dead man was a 20-year-old Lancaster man. His name was not immediately released while authorities tried to find his family. The wounded woman, whose name was also not disclosed, was treated at a hospital and released. The shooting was reported about 1:40 a.m. Tuesday in the Marbella Villas complex in the 43400 block of 30th Street West, deputies said. Several people were in the condo when the shooting occurred, a homicide detective, Pat Tapia, said. Tapia said detectives were told conflicting stories about what happened. LANCASTER – A woman was wounded and her estranged boyfriend was shot to death during a quarrel early Tuesday inside a condominium home, deputies said. The two were quarreling when the woman’s brother confronted the estranged boyfriend and fired a shot from a handgun, sheriff’s deputies said. The bullet first hit his sister’s arm, then fatally hit the estranged boyfriend in the upper torso, deputies said. The brother, identified as 23-year-old Jesse Lee Kerr of Lancaster, was arrested on suspicion of murder and was being held without bail.
“Pretty much all of them were in shock, honestly,” said Lesterville Fire Department Chief Ben Meredith. The three children – ages 7 months, 3 and 5 – were listed in critical condition at a hospital in St. Louis, 120 miles to the northeast. The two older children had breathing problems; the baby suffered from hypothermia, authorities said. The reservoir, built in 1963, was dug out of the top of 1,590-foot Profit Mountain, with huge, sloping, 90-foot-high walls made of the stone removed from the peak. The reservoir – the upper of two reservoirs at the hydroelectric plant – was lined with concrete and asphalt. A plastic liner was added two years ago because of minor leaks, Rainwater said. Normally, water released from the reservoir rushes down a 7,000-foot shaft and tunnel and spins the turbines to generate electricity. In Wednesday’s accident, water gushed through the breach and streamed down the side of the mountain and into a valley, draining the reservoir like a bathtub. At 5:12 a.m., the water level in the reservoir was high, according to AmerenUE. By 5:24 a.m., it registered as low. The water eventually flowed back into the Black River. Soon after the break, police and the National Weather Service urged the 150 residents of Lesterville, about 15 miles downstream in the sparsely populated area, to move to higher ground. But by midday, once the water had flowed back into the river, the danger had passed. Emergency workers said they saw two tractor-trailers pushed about 150 yards off the road, two pickup trucks and a car tossed into a field, and a house that Hoover described as “just totally gone.” Gov. Matt Blunt said AmerenUE would be held responsible for flood damage if an investigation finds the company is liable. The company said it would respond to the flooded community’s needs. J. Mark Robinson, director of the office of energy projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said the plant, including the reservoir, was inspected most recently in August and found to be properly operated and maintained. AmerenUE serves 2.3 million customers in Missouri and Illinois, and the plant provides about 2 percent of its total electric generation. The floodwaters knocked over some power poles, causing scattered outages, but there was no widespread interruption of power because of the breach. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “We’ll never see anything like it in our lifetime again,” paramedic Chris Hoover said. AmerenUE chairman and chief executive Gary Rainwater said it appeared that the plant’s automated instruments had pumped too much water into the reservoir and caused it to rupture. A backup set of instruments should have recognized the problem but didn’t, and the utility is trying to figure out why, AmerenUE said. The water hit Coleman’s truck at 5:20 a.m., splashing through the windows. He climbed onto the roof and saw that another truck and a car were also submerged, with the drivers also on the roofs. The water receded within minutes. It was then that Coleman said he heard a man screaming for help. The man’s home had been washed away, and his wife and his three children were missing. Rescuers searched for an hour before finding the family of Jerry Toops, superintendent of a state park near the reservoir. The four were huddling silently at the far end of a muddy field 500 yards from where their home had once stood. LESTERVILLE, Mo. – Trucker Greg Coleman could barely believe what hit him. He was hauling a load of zinc down a highway in southeast Missouri when a wall of water emerged from the predawn darkness and slammed into his truck. “I had no idea where it was coming from – I travel this road every day,” Coleman said. The wave was part of a billion-gallon torrent of water that spilled from a huge mountaintop reservoir in the Ozarks after a stone retaining wall collapsed before daybreak Wednesday. At least two homes and several vehicles were swept away and three children were critically injured, authorities said. The 50-acre reservoir at a hydroelectric plant run by St. Louis-based utility AmerenUE emptied within minutes through the V-shaped, 600-foot-wide breach, turning the surrounding area into a landscape of flattened trees and clay-covered grass.