LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, Kan. • A St. Louis man was fatally injured Monday when a truck pulled in front of his vehicle on a Kansas highway, police say.
Charlie Gillis, 20, died at a hospital the day after the crash. He was a 2016 graduate of Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in Ladue.
According to a letter by Head of School Lisa Lyle, Gillis was returning to the University of Kansas after spending homecoming weekend in St. Louis. While at MICDS, he played football and was captain of the track and field team and an all-state pole vaulter, Lyle's letter says.
MICDS says Gillis was the son of Jenn Gillis, a longtime kindergarten teacher there, and Jack Gillis, who is a former member of the MICDS board of trustees.
The Kansas Highway Patrol says the crash was at 3:40 p.m. Monday in Leavenworth County. Gillis was driving a 2001 SUV west on U.S. Highway 24, which is a divided, four-lane highway. A 2015 Freightliner truck was heading north on 166th Street, crossing Highway 24.
The patrol said the Freightliner, which had already crossed the eastbound lanes of the highway, was supposed to yield to the westbound highway traffic. The trucker would've had a yield sign, police say.
Instead, the Freighliner pulled in front of Gillis' vehicle, which struck the middle axle of the truck, the patrol said. The truck then spun and struck a third vehicle, which was stopped at a stop sign on 166th Street. The trucker and the person in the third vehicle were not injured.
Gillis, who had been wearing a seat belt, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Tuesday, the patrol's report says.
No one was arrested or cited, said Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Ian Ingram. The Leavenworth County prosecutor will review the results of the investigation, he said.
The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Kansas set up a gofundme account, with a goal of raising $5,000 to help pay for funeral costs and memorials for Gillis. The fundraiser described Gillis as "a beloved friend, brother, and son, someone who never failed to bring up a smile to all those around him, free spirited and adventurous."
"We want to celebrate the memory of the type of person that he was and hope to carry on his legacy," according to the fundraiser's organizer.