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Two women, two girls killed in Highway 40 crash on way to volleyball tournament

Two women, two girls killed in Highway 40 crash on way to volleyball tournament

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UPDATED at 9 a.m. Monday with more on driver's criminal history; details on victims

ST. CHARLES COUNTY — Two women and two girls were killed Friday in a head-on collision near Lake Saint Louis while traveling to a weekend volleyball tournament.

Those killed were identified as Carrie McCaw, 44, Kacey McCaw, 12, Lesley Prather, 40, and Rhyan Prather, 12, all of Louisville, Kentucky.

Four victims of crash in St. Charles County

Victims of St. Charles County crash, via Instagram post from Assumption High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Missouri Highway Patrol said the four were riding in a 2014 Honda Odyssey minivan when a pickup truck crashed into them and another car after crossing a median on Highway 40 (Interstate 64) and veering into oncoming traffic.

The crash was at 10:38 a.m. Friday in the westbound lanes of Highway 40, west of Highway 364.

The pickup's driver, a 29-year-old man from the St. Charles area, was seriously injured in the crash. He was taken to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.

The man was driving a 2009 Ford 250 pickup east on the highway when it  ran off the left side of the road and breached cable barriers in the grassy median, said patrol Cpl. Dallas Thompson. As his pickup started to overturn, it slammed into the minivan and a 2017 Acura MDX in the westbound lanes. The Acura's driver and passenger weren't injured, according to the patrol's report.

The Highway Patrol is investigating why the pickup's driver lost control of his vehicle. The driver wasn't arrested, Thompson said, although the case is being handled as a criminal investigation. Thompson said the patrol will be submitting a report to St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar. 

Lohmar said the patrol had "reasonable suspicion" to believe that the driver was impaired. Officials now wait for toxicology tests to "see what was in his system."

The pickup's driver, who could not be reached for comment, is on probation for a felony drug conviction from St. Charles County. After pleading guilty of drug possession in October 2017, he was put on five years' probation. The judge required he undergo substance-abuse treatment and provide hair follicles for drug testing every 90 days.

The four deaths rocked Louisville, Kentucky, where the victims lived. The women and their daughters were headed to a volleyball tournament in Kansas City.

“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,” according to a statement from Jared Rudiger, the tournament director.

KIVA is the Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Academy.

“Words are unable to express our sadness at the loss of Carrie and Kacey McCaw and Lesley and Rhyan Prather," Rudiger added.

Lesley Prather was a Louisville firefighter. The city’s mayor, Greg Fischer, tweeted: “My heart is breaking at the loss of four Louisvillians, including a Louisville firefighter, killed in a tragic accident today in Missouri. I ask that you join me in keeping their families, friends and co-workers in your hearts and prayers.”

Lesley Prather played volleyball at the University of Louisville from 1998 to 2001. McCaw played volleyball for Syracuse from 1994-1997. Both universities posted messages on social media in tribute.

Highway 40 is equipped with cable barriers running along the median designed to protect against crossover crashes. Thompson said the cable barrier was intact at the crash site. The pickup apparently breached the barrier by rolling over it in the crash, he said.

Lake Saint Louis police said the crash closed both westbound lanes of the highway from Winghaven Boulevard to Lake Saint Louis Boulevard. All lanes were reopened by 2 p.m. Friday.

Read story update here:

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to report that Prather was 40 years old.

Taylor Tiamoyo Harris of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this article.

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