UPDATE: NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. — Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings releases more information regarding the death of a young man on I-44 late Thursday night, November 5, 2020.

Sheriff Jennings clarifies that the incident was not a traffic crash as first thought. However it was young man experiencing a mental health crisis. “Due to the obvious attempt by the victim to run in front of the truck,” a media release states below.

On 11-05-20 at 2345 hours the Newton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of I44 at approximately the 6.4 mile marker. At that location an individual had been struck by a Semi truck. Witness accounts indicated that the victim had been taken to Mercy Hospital by family due to suicidal comments he had made. Upon arrival he apparently became agitated and ran towards the interstate. According to witnesses he intentionally ran into the path of the truck. The victim was then struck a second time by a passenger car. This was not worked as a traffic accident due to the obvious attempt by the victim to run in front of the truck. The driver of the truck was out of Iowa.


The victim is identified as Brayden Hardee, 21 years of age showing a residence in Springfield Mo.      


Joplin News First encourages anyone in a mental health crisis, either yourself or someone you know, to reach out to one of the following:

  • Local Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day. Call 417.347.7720 or 800.247.0661 to speak to a mental health professional now.
  • Freeman Health Systems has a walk-in Therapy Clinic. Open Mon – Fri 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For issues ranging from depression and anxiety to eating disorders and substance use, you can receive same-day help at Ozark Center’s Walk-In Clinic. Click here for details on where and what you need to bring.
  • A person can CHAT/TEXT with a professional. Lifeline Chat allows one to text message with a Crisis Counselor. Click here for that web link.
  • Immediate help is always available by calling 911.
  • Do you know someone in another area of Missouri in crisis? Click here for a list of Crisis Agencies across the state.

ORIGINAL STORY: JOPLIN, Mo. — Shortly before 11:15 PM Thursday night 911 Dispatch centers began receiving information regarding a person struck by a semi on I-44.

Joplin Fire Department, Joplin Police, Newton County Deputies and multiple medical units responded to I-44 east. It’s determined to have occurred near the Main Street exit in the eastbound lanes. Missouri State Highway Patrol were notified.


Joplin Police confirm to us this is a fatality. A semi struck a person in the roadway.

  • I-44 EAST approaching Main Street
  • All vehicles exit at Main Street
  • Continue east onto the on-ramp at Main Street

Little is known at this time except this will be an investigation conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and it will last into the morning hours, it did occur in Newton County.

The incident is too recent to release gender, age or other details. This is a fresh investigation.