LAKE SAINT LOUIS, Mo. — A Missouri woman was one of the first people to pull up on a crash on Interstate 64 near Highway 364 in Lake St. Louis that killed four people Friday morning, Feb. 14 — two Kentucky mothers and their 12-year-old daughters, en route to a volleyball tournament.
“Jumped over the guard rail, jumped across the highway,” said Stephanie Huttegger. “I don’t even know if cars were coming. I just went.”
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the driver of a Ford F-250 owned by Sweeten Concrete of Wentzville, Mo. lost control, and the vehicle crossed the median into oncoming traffic on the westbound lanes near Highway 364, hitting a minivan head-on around 11 a.m. Friday.
“As a mom, as a parent, as a human being, it was horrific,” said Huttegger. “It was horrible. Checked the first car. It was two elderly people. Thumbs up is what they gave me.”
She then ran to the pickup truck and asked the driver, identified as Elijah Henderson, if he was OK.
“He’s like, “I can breathe, but my legs are broke,” said Huttegger.
When she made it to the mangled minivan, her heart stopped.
“Seen the two people, knew immediately,” said Huttegger.
The two women in the front were dead, she said. The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified them as Carrie McCaw and Lesley Prather, both 44, from Louisville, Kentucky.
According to the University of Louisville’s athletic department, Prather and McCaw were heading to a volleyball tournament in Kansas City with their daughters, 12-year-old Rhyan Prather and 12-year-old Kacey McCaw.
Huttegger said another woman who was an off-duty paramedic also joined in and helped at the scene.
“I guess they had airbags in the back, and we kinda pushed it back, and that’s when we saw the little girl,” said Huttegger. “We just grabbed her, went over right to the grass, started CPR.”
A man joined, Huttegger said. They switched off doing chest compressions on the 12-year-old girl for about 12 minutes until paramedics took over.
They smashed the window of the minivan trying to get the other 12-year-old girl out, but couldn’t. Both girls died.
“Did God put me there for a reason?” wondered Hutteger, who just happens to have training as an EMT. “Had to have. Had to have. There’s no other explanation for it.”
Huttegger wanted to share her story to send a message of how important it is to pull over when there’s a crash if there’s a chance you can help.
“I’m just glad I was there, and did what I could do, and hope I could help the next person because if it was my family, I’d want the same,” said Huttegger.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol and St. Charles County Prosecutor’s Office were considering this crash to be a criminal investigation, with charges possible.