No survivors in head-on crash, East Hwy 86 in Newton County

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Randy Morris tells us one driver died on the scene, the second driver flown to an area hospital, but did not survive.

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. – Thursday morning just after 7 a.m. reports in Newton County of a head-on crash just to the east of Shetland Road on East Hwy 86 alerted Newton County Central Dispatch.

East Newton Fire/Granby Fire, Midway Fire Protection District, Newton County Sheriff’s Deputies and Newton County Ambulance responded. Missouri State Highway Patrol and MoDOT Emergency Response were notified.

East Hwy 86 was completely blocked by the crashed vehicles.  The roadway remained closed for about 3 hours between State Hwy M (east side) and Shetland Road (west side).

| MORE JLNews1st >> Sheriff seeking wellbeing check on woman once thought to be kidnapped

On scene we learn from Missouri State Highway Patrol Tpr Randy Morris one driver died at the scene and the second driver was flown to an area hospital, but died of injuries.

The Troop D Major Crash Investigation Unit (MCIU) was summoned to process the crash. Each MCIU officer is, “trained in the human, mechanical and environmental factors of traffic crash investigation. They are considered court experts in the field of traffic crash investigation.”

Diania Bittner, 36, of Neosho, Mo. was driving a 2020 KIA Sorento.  She died at the scene.  We learn later her unborn daughter also died in the crash.

Jane Taylor, 66, of Stark City, Mo. was driving a 2015 GMC Sierra.  She was flown to Freeman West and was pronounced deceased later.

Next of kin have been notified.

Occurred as [KIA Sorento] crossed the center line and struck [GMC Sierra]. [Bittner] was pronounced at the scene at 0705 hours by Assistant Newton County Coroner Jerry Deems. [Taylor] was pronounced at Freeman Hospital at 0827 hours by Dr. Carney.” – Tpr Randy Morris of Troop D

I-49 Towing removed both vehicles and debris from the roadway.  East Hwy 86 opened again just after 10 a.m.


Preliminary Crash report from Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D. Screenshot, link to online report here.

Tpr Morris was assisted by MSgt K.R. Sanders, Cpl G. Hendrix, Tpr M. Coleman and MCIU Tpr M.K. Eden. This is Troop D’s 61st and 62nd fatalities for 2022.

One can donate to Clark Funeral Home for the Diania Bittner Funeral Expense Fund, 312 S Wood, Neosho, Missouri 64850.

Stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to learn more.  Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews1st email list so you don’t miss an article.


#neverforgotten JPD Ofc & wife killed 4 years ago
• Woman no longer missing & endangered; Now seeking for wellbeing check
• Bartlesville bank robber on camera
• Barton Co. Mo. issue Burn Ban
• NKCPD Ofc killed during traffic stop