ST. LOUIS (KMOV/Meredith) – Two mothers from Kentucky and both of their 12-year-old daughters were killed in a Missouri crash while on their way to a volleyball tournament, officials say.
The crash happened after a pickup truck crossed a median on an interstate highway and struck the minivan the four were in Friday morning in the St. Louis area, according to local authorities.
A Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesperson said the driver of a Ford F-250 owned by Sweeten Concrete Co of Wentzville lost control and crossed the median into oncoming traffic on the westbound lanes of Interstate 64 near Highway 364. Somehow it broke through the median cable barrier and hit a minivan with Kentucky plates head-on around 11 a.m.
All four occupants of the minivan were killed. According to MSHP, all four are from Louisville, Kentucky. Officials later identified the adult victims as Carrie McCaw and Lesley Prather. Both were 44 years old.
The University of Louisville' athletic department wrote that they were heartbroken after learning of Prather's death. Prather was a former student and employee at the university.
"No words can do her justice. She was such a great, great kid," said Leonid Yelin, former Cardinal head volleyball who coached her during her career at UofL. "Nothing I could say could do her justice or be enough."
Prather and McCaw were heading to a volleyball tournament, The Triple Crown Volleyball, in Kansas City with their daughters, 12-year-old Rhyan Prather and 12-year-old Kacey McCaw.
Jared Rudiger, the Triple Crown NIT event director released the following statement:
Everyone connected to the Triple Crown NIT is devastated at learning of the loss of four members of the KIVA family who died in a car accident Friday on their way to the tournament. Words are unable to express our sadness at the loss of Carrie and Kacey McCaw and Lesley and Rhyan Prather; we have been close partners with KIVA through the building of this event, and we will stand by them in this moment, along with all the KIVA families and loved ones.
The Louisville Fire Department confirmed that Prather was one of their firefighters, according to CBS station WLKY. The department released this statement regarding the deadly crash.
This evening, we learned of the death of a Louisville Firefighter, killed in in a vehicle collision outside of St. Louis, Missouri. At the request of the family, we will delay releasing any information. Please respect the family’s wishes at this time.
Several organizations express their condolences and support for both the Prather and McCaw family.
Our hearts are heavy with the loss of four beautiful souls in Carrie and Kacey McCaw and Lesley and Rhyan Prather. Our KIVA family will never be the same and we send prayers and love to all of the families touched by this tragedy.— KIVA (@KIVAVB) February 15, 2020
We are heartbroken to hear of the passing of Cardinal Forever Lesley Drury Prather (98-01) and her daughter, Rhyan.Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the fatal crash. pic.twitter.com/p6zkrzs79m— Louisville Volleyball (@UofLVolleyball) February 15, 2020
The pickup driver also hit an Acura MDX. The driver of the pickup, identified as Elijah Henderson, and the driver of the Acura suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The St. Charles County prosecutor’s office confirms there is now a criminal investigation against Henderson.