WILDWOOD • Students at Rockwood high schools on Friday mourned the deaths of two recent graduates and a current senior after a terrible one-car crash Thursday night.
“It’s just so tragic,” said John Meyer, who coached one of the victims, Christopher Lenzen, in baseball at Marquette High School for four years. “It’s horrific.”
Lenzen, 18, and two sisters, Lauren Oliver, 18, and Kathleen Oliver, 17, were killed in the crash of a convertible sports car about 9:45 p.m. Thursday on Homestead Manor Drive in Wildwood. Olivia Dames, 18, survived the crash.
Counselors were available Friday at Marquette High and Eureka High, where Dames and Lauren Oliver had recently graduated and Kathleen Oliver was a senior.
Meyer said he gathered with student-athletes who had played baseball with Lenzen at Marquette on Friday morning. Another coach spent time with Lenzen’s teammates on the basketball team. Lenzen was a three-year starter for the baseball team and a four-year starter for the basketball team, Meyer said.
“We gave them a safe haven to express themselves,” Meyer said. “We encouraged them to grieve and just let those emotions flow. ... You just saw a lot of sad kids today.”
At Eureka High School on Friday morning, principal Deborah Asher said students spontaneously chose to lay flowers on the school’s marquee in remembrance of the sisters who died. Asher said the Olivers’ surviving sister was a freshman at the school, which started classes on Tuesday. The girls’ parents could not be reached for comment.
St. Louis County Police Lt. Bryan Ludwig said Lenzen was the driver of the 2013 Infiniti G37S convertible. The car belonged to Lenzen’s mother, a family member said. They were riding along Homestead Manor Drive with the top down about 9:45 p.m. when the car ran off the road, hit the back deck of a home, then went into the woods and struck a tree.
The Oliver sisters were dead when authorities arrived. Lenzen died before a medical helicopter could get him to a hospital.
Monarch Fire Protection District spokesman Roger Herin said he didn’t know why the car went off the road or how fast it may have been going. He said he didn’t know if the occupants were wearing seat belts.
Routine toxicology tests are pending.
The Oliver sisters lived in the 1100 block of Sara Mathews Lane in Wildwood. Lenzen lived in the 2200 block of Stonebriar Ridge Drive in Chesterfield.
Lenzen is survived by two brothers and his parents, Bob and Polly Lenzen. Bob Lenzen said through tears Friday morning that the family had chosen to donate Christopher’s organs.
Bob Lenzen said his son was supposed to leave on Saturday morning for the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he was going to be a freshman and study business.
“He took his girlfriend out for a going-away dinner” on Thursday night when the crash happened, Bob Lenzen said.
He won an integrity award at Marquette High and “was a bright kid,” his father said.
Dan Ramsey, assistant principal at Marquette high, said Lenzen represented the school well.
“He was just an exceptional student, exceptional athlete, just a gifted young man,” Ramsey said.
Lauren and Kathleen Oliver were both involved in many activities at Eureka. Lauren Oliver ran cross country and was on the track team. She was also in the National Honor Society, a school ambassador and a Bright Flight scholar. She was getting ready to leave for college. Kathleen, the senior, was a cheerleader who was going to be the squad’s co-captain this year. She also took part in the school’s On Stage show choir.
“They were ideal high school students,” Asher said. “If you wanted to look at the best of students and teenagers, they are definitely two you could point to as role models.”