WARRENTON, MO - The site that was the scene of a deadly Monday morning crash near Veterans Memorial Parkway just east of Highway 47 is now the site of a memorial surrounded with flowers, a cross and a picture of 17-year-old Megan Gross.
Gross was on her way to Warrenton High School where she was a senior.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, Gross was riding in a car and the driver tried to pass a tractor-trailer on the left as a big rig attempted a left turn right before two vehicles collided killing the young passenger.
The small and close-knit community where Gross grew up, is trying to come to grips that she is no longer with them.
Wednesday night, candles lit the somber night as Gross’ family, friends and neighbors came together for a vigil remembering the star volleyball player.
The crash happened on the property of the Coca-Cola plant. The operation showed its full support and sympathy allowing the community to set up the memorial and hold the vigil on its property.
For Brian Lundy who lives just a block from Gross’ home, the young girl was like a daughter.
“I’ve known Megan from the time she came home,” said Lundy, “and as I was looking through the family pictures, that smile has been there from day one.”
People who spoke at the vigil echoed the same sentiment. She was lovable, friendly, giving and outgoing.
“Anybody that knew her or knew of her or played against her in volleyball they all knew and loved her spirit,” Lundy continued.
Those who didn’t know her personally still showed up to pay their respects.
Alexis Clarice who was a year ahead of Gross last year said that the tragedy hits too close to home.
“My mother was in a car crash before and that’s how she passed away,” said Clarice, “and I feel really horrible for the family and I just wanted to give my regards to them.”
The vigil confirmed over and over again that Gross who wore the number 39, is adored, loved, cherished and will be forever missed.
“Parents love them every chance you get,” said Lundy as tears welled up, “five minutes here can make a difference in their life.”
The Gross family did not speak with Fox 2 on camera but Megan’s father, Dan Gross released a statement saying:
“No words can describe the pain and devastating loss this careless accident has caused my family. Megan was the light and love of our lives, beautiful from the inside out. She had a smile for everyone and was an example of how to live life, outgoing, compassionate, and caring towards others. This is evident by the overwhelming love and support we are receiving from not only our community, but neighboring counties honoring Megan’s beautiful life. We are so grateful for all the prayers, love and support from our family, friends, and even strangers during our time of need.”
Warrenton High School canceled two of its girls’ volleyball games this week but is still scheduled to compete in a tournament on Saturday at Seckman High School.