St. Charles County mother killed in car accident was working extra shifts for kids’ Christmas gifts

(Ed. note: In a FOX 2 follow up to this story, the children’s father, Michael Hackenthal, said the children were currently under his care and supervision.)

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. - A St. Charles County mother working extra shifts to give her two children the best Christmas possible, was killed in a car accident over the weekend.

The deadly crash happened around 6:30 p.m. Saturday on eastbound MO-364, east of Jungs Station Road. The family of 31-year-old, Sara Shepard said she was on her way to her nursing job at St. Louis University Hospital.

A 39-year-old man driving a pickup truck collided with Shepard's sedan for unknown reasons. Both cars traveled off of the road and struck the guardrail. The pickup truck then overturned.

The driver of the pickup truck and his 32-year-old female passenger were both transported to a nearby hospital with moderate injuries.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

The reality that Shepard is gone has not sunk in for her brother Dave Hill and his wife Becca Hill.

It’s the second tragedy in just seven months after Sara and Dave's brother, James also died.

“We’ve learned a lot about grief through this whole process," said Mrs. Hill.

Now, the couple along with other grieving family members are left wondering, how Shepard’s two young kids will go on without her.

“Right now it’s all about them," said Mr. Hill, "they are the ones who are suffering the most out of all of this.”

Shepard's loved ones said that she had recently taken up the nursing position and was working extra hours to help pay for Christmas gifts for her young son and daughter.

“Sara had already picked out a Christmas list for the children," Mrs. Hill said, "her whole life was her kids, everything she did was for her kids.”

“We just celebrated Thanksgiving with her and it was a great Thanksgiving and I’m glad we have a lot of great pictures and memories.”

SLU hospital also released a statement saying:

"Our hearts are broken to hear of the sudden passing of Sara Shepard. Sara was the epitome of a nurse, talented, knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated.  She was kind-hearted and an advocate for her patients. Sara will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time."

If you would like to help the family especially Shepard's two young kids a link can be found here.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, November 29, from 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm at the Hutchens-Stygar Funeral & Cremation Center.