Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Driver Admitted Drug Use Prior to Deadly Crash in St. Charles County, Court Record Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Driver Admitted Drug Use Prior to Deadly Crash in St. Charles County, Court Record Says

Article excerpt

ST. CHARLES COUNTY -- The pickup truck driver who authorities say careened into oncoming traffic on Highway 40, killing four people on Valentine's Day, admitted to police that he had smoked marijuana the night before, court records show.

The driver acknowledged the drug use to police as he lay in a hospital bed Saturday, a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper said in court records. The driver has not been charged in connection with the crash near Lake Saint Louis. The wreck occurred while he was driving a 2009 Ford F-250 company truck for a concrete business. Police said they found traces of what they suspect is marijuana in his personal vehicle parked outside his work.

Leslie Knight, a spokeswoman for St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar, said Wednesday that a decision on criminal charges is still weeks away. Prosecutors are awaiting toxicology results on the driver and results from the Missouri Highway Patrol's accident reconstruction investigation, Knight said.

The Post-Dispatch is not identifying the driver because he has not been charged. The 29-year-old man, from the St. Charles area, is currently serving five years' probation in a 2016 drug possession case in St. Charles. He also has a drunken driving conviction from 2012, police said.

The collision Friday morning killed two women and two girls who were in a minivan struck by the pickup. They were Carrie McCaw, 44, and her daughter Kacey McCaw, 12, and Lesley Prather, 44, and her daughter Rhyan Prather, 12, all of Louisville, Kentucky. They were heading to a weekend volleyball tournament in Kansas City. Lesley Prather was a Louisville firefighter. Firefighters displayed American flags along Interstate 64 near Louisville as the bodies of the four victims were returned home Monday in a procession.

After the crash, the pickup driver was hospitalized at Mercy St. Louis in serious condition. A highway patrol trooper went to the hospital and questioned him about previous drug use. The driver said he had used marijuana the night before the wreck, according to court records. …

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