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      La Plata man life-flighted after semi crash

      A heartland man is hospitalized after police say his vehicle hit the rear of a semi.

      It happened just before 8:00 Saturday morning.

      Investigators said the car was driven by Damian Onken, 33, of La Plata.

      Police said Onken crossed the center line traveling east bound on Highway 6 at Novinger when he went under the semi, and struck the rear axles.

      The tractor-trailer was traveling west bound.

      Onken was taken from the scene by Life Flight Eagle and brought to the University Medical Center in Columbia.

      Rodney Wepfer, 59, of Springfield, was the driver of the semi.

      He told us at the scene he believed Onken had fallen asleep at the wheel.

      â??It appears the truck driver took the most evasive action he had available to him at the time,â?? Cpl. E.L. Grissom with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.

      Along with this weekâ??s snow several pieces of metal from Onkenâ??s vehicle lined the street.

      â??We just urged motorist to take extra precautions this time of year,â?? Grissom said. â??And to drive safely and pay attention.â??

      When KTVO checked with the medical center Onken was in good condition.