Victim in ‘freak accident’ on Forest Park Parkway identified as prominent local businesswoman

Janet Torrisi-Mokwa

ST. LOUIS - Authorities have identified the person killed Monday in a freak accident on Forest Park Parkway.

Janet Torrisi-Mokwa was killed when another driver's accident on a bridge above her caused a 1-ton chunk of concrete to fall on her vehicle. She was 58. She was the wife of former St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa.

Torrisi-Mokwa died instantly when the concrete hit her black Tesla sedan Monday. Police Lt. Paul Lauer called it "a very freak accident.''

They said the 22-year-old driver of a white sedan lost control of her car Monday on Lindell Boulevard over Forest Park Parkway after making a turn onto the bridge. She crashed into a concrete barrier, dislodging a large piece of the barrier, and sending it to Forest Park Parkway below.

Authorities have not identified the 22-year-old woman driving the white vehicle. She was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. A third car, a white SUV, was behind the black Tesla below and rear-ended it. No one in that vehicle was injured.

Torrisi-Mokwa's LinkedIn profile said she founded Congruence and had over 20 years experience advising local and national businesses on how to develop leaders within their organizations. Previously, she was the principal of global performance management at Arthur Andersen and prior to that she was the director of Boeing's Leadership Center. She was the chair of the Women's Leadership Council at the Humane Society of Missouri and a St. Louis Society board member.

The Humane Society of Missouri sent this statement about the death of Torrisi-Mokwa:

"We are truly devastated and deeply saddened by the tragic death yesterday of our dear friend and generous benefactor Janet Torrisi-Mokwa. Into every meeting and event, Jan brought a bright smile, tremendous energy and creativity, and an ever-present “we can do more” attitude. Failure was not in her vocabulary.

"As one of the founders of the Humane Society of Missouri’s Women’s Leadership Council, our annual Purses and Pumps for Pooches and Pals event and numerous other initiatives, Jan laid the foundation for the donation of millions of dollars that helped hundreds of thousands of homeless animals rescued and cared for by the Humane Society of Missouri. Jan also was a member of the Humane Society of Missouri’s Friends Council and Board of Directors, and for many years provided leadership counsel and inspiration to our organization.

"Our most heartfelt sympathies are extended to Jan’s family and particularly her husband, Joe Mokwa, also a long-time friend and benefactor of the Humane Society of Missouri. Jan truly made a difference for all of the people and animals at the Humane Society of Missouri. She will be sorely missed."

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