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Wash U. Professor Is One Of Three Killed In Head-On Collision

LADUE, MO (KTVI) – Washington University and the St. Louis Art Museum were in mourning Saturday, after an apparent high speed crash left three people dead.

It happened in a 35 mph speed zone on Ladue Road, just before 9 o`clock Friday night. No one survived.

Among those killed, an art sciences professor, splitting time at the Art Museum and the university.

It was the worst of accident scenes in the 9600 block of Ladue Road near MICDS.

The cars involved were so crumbled they were hard to recognize.

“It was a heck of an impact,” said Ladue Police Sgt., Randy Aldrich. “Vehicle 1 was traveling west bound and attempted to pass a vehicle at which time he struck a vehicle head on going eastbound on Ladue Road. Both drivers involved were killed instantly at the scene. A passenger in vehicle 2 was transported to a local hospital. He died a short time later.”

It happened at the crest of a double-striped, 2 lane section of Ladue Road.

Kyle Weeks, 25, of Olivette, tried to pass anyway, police said, hitting Melanie Michailidis, 46, and her passenger, Joseph Jacob, who was visiting from San Francisco, 41.

The accident came 2 days before his 42nd birthday.

Michailidis was a post-doctorate fellow at the Art Museum and Washington U. She was a specialist in Islamic art.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss. Melanie was a deeply gifted and promising young scholar and will be greatly missed. Our hearts go out to her family and friends during this difficult time,” said Art Museum Director, Brent Benjamin.

Elizabeth Childs, chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington U. said, “(Dr. Michailidis) was an exceptionally bright and thoughtful scholar, an energetic and rigorous teacher, and always an extremely kind and generous colleague. She will be deeply missed by friends, students, and faculty alike.”

From the looks of thing at the scene, police said Michailidis and Jacob were simply heading east on Ladue Road; to them it must have seemed as it Weeks’ car, appeared out of nowhere.

“[They] had no chance at all. The driver and passenger in car 2 didn`t have time to do anything,” Sgt. Aldrich said.

Police said firefighters had to cut apart both cars to extricate the 3 victims.

Police also said they were no immediate signs at the scene that alcohol was involved but they were awaiting results from toxicology tests on the victims.

The St. Louis County accident reconstruction team is looking into how fast the cars were going.

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For more on this story: Three Killed In Ladue Head On-Collision