BALLWIN, Mo. – Three teenagers are dead and two others are in the hospital after a tragic car accident early Sunday morning. Friends and peers have gathered to console one another at the crash site during the emotional day.
The teens who died in the crash have been identified Monday as Cole Anello, 16, Rhegan Sajben, 15, and Jacob Keifer, 15. The two victims taken to the hospital are a 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl. They are expected to survive.
It has been hard to watch these high school students who were friends to these five teens come here to crash site so deeply hurt. They are crying and hugging. They have created a beautiful tribute for the three victims who died.
Unfortunately, this is not the first deadly accident on Kiefer Creek Road.
“We have seen a lot of accidents and quite a few deaths,” said resident Janice Dudley.
Early Sunday morning, residents in Forest Ridge Trail woke up to a tragedy. Police say a car filled with five teens veered off of Kiefer Creek Road around 4:00 a.m. The Nissan Maxima they were in struck a tree near the roadway, bursting into flames shortly after.
A witness who did not want to be identified says the flames appeared to raise at least 12 feet into the air.
“I heard, like a loud boom. I guess it was probably the car exploding or something. It could like shake the house. It was really loud, and then that’s when they started screaming for 911,” said the anonymous witness.
Cole Anello was a sophomore at Desmet High School. Sajben and Keifer went to Marquette High School.
Desmet released a statement saying, in part: “The Desmet Jesuit community is heartbroken by the loss of Cole Anello. We offer prayers for Cole, the other victims of this terrible tragedy, their families, and their friends.”
The other two victims were Marquette students. They were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Marquette also released a statement saying: “Our sincere thoughts and sympathies are with the families, educators, and friends who knew and loved these young people.”
Janice Dudley and her husband have been living in the Forest Ridge Trail neighborhood for nearly 20 years. She says more people have died on Kiefer Creek Road than she’d like to recall.
“Kids come down here, and they do high speeds,” said Dudley. It’s just such a dangerous road. It curves quite a bit.”
There are no street lights near the crash site and it is very dark. Residents tell us deer cross this road at all hours of the day.
This accident is still under investigation and for now, we are all praying for the two victims in the hospital can pull through.