ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - At Archway Memorial Chapel in Hazelwood, owner Kenneth McGhee had nothing but good things to say about the Patriot Guard Riders, a volunteer motorcycle group that escorts funeral processions for fallen service members.
“Very kind people, very diligent,” McGhee said. “They are very dignified and very proud of the service they provide for fellow veterans.”
McGhee was particularly distressed to learn that a 64-year-old Patriot Guard Rider was struck by a vehicle and killed in south St. Louis County Monday while escorting a procession that originated at his funeral home.
“Until we learned the end result, even the family who was burying their loved one wanted to know if there was anything they could do,” McGhee said.
According to the St. Louis County Police Department, the crash happened around 1:30 p.m. at Telegraph and Barracksview roads. The motorcycle driver, identified as Mark Schroeder, was traveling northbound on Telegraph Road working as the tail vehicle of a funeral procession to Jefferson Barracks Cemetery. When Schroeder arrived at the intersection, he was struck by a minivan heading east on Barracksview, trying to enter the Wal-Mart shopping plaza.
After striking the motorcycle, the minivan struck a third vehicle facing Barracksview, attempting to make a left turn onto Telegraph Road.
Schroeder was rushed to the hospital where he died of his injuries. No other injuries were reported.
“Once a funeral procession has entered into an intersection, by law they have the right of way,’ said McGhee. “They only have to yield to emergency vehicles.”
Asked if there’s anything good that can come out of this unfortunate accident, McGhee said perhaps it will increase public awareness.
“We're seeing more and more vehicles interrupting funeral processions,” he said. “Once again there is that statute that requires you do not impede into a funeral procession.”
The St. Louis County Bureau of Crimes Against Persons, Crime Scene Unit, and Accident Reconstruction Team are investigating the crash. No word yet on whether the driver of the mini-van will face charges.