ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The heartache over Sunday’s deadly, one-car crash involving five teens continues to hit the west St. Louis county community hard. A memorial of cards and flowers surrounded the tree where a Nissan Maxima traveling east on Kiefer Creek Road near Forest Valley Road crashed and went up in flames Sunday morning.
Authorities identified the victims Monday as 16-year-old Cole Anello, 15-year-old Rhegan Sajben, and 15-year-old Jacob Keifer. The two survivors taken to the hospital are a 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl. Accident reconstruction investigations typically take several weeks so it will be some time before investigators know more about why the car slammed into the tree.
Janice Dudley lives near the scene of the crash and hopes St Louis County examines whether anything can be done to prevent another tragedy.
“We’re just losing too many people and they’re young people,” she said.
In 2012, Dudley called 911 after a Chevy Malibu drove off the road and ended up in the creek.
Dudley said the amount of tragedy she has witnessed has taken an emotional toll.
“Even though we don’t know the people, it leaves a lasting impression and you,” she said.
Tom Odlum was the first neighbor on the scene of Sunday’s tragedy.
“We’ve lived here for about 30 years, and we’ve seen probably five deaths,” he said.
Kiefer Creek Road has some windy stretches, but the area of the crash is straight.
“It turns into a drag strip from time to time,” said Odlum.
The speed limit is 40 miles per hour and some drivers say it’s not unusual to see deer in the area, especially this time of the year.
On Monday, St. Louis County officials did not have a total for the number of crashes that have taken place on Kiefer Creek Road near Forest Valley Road in recent years. St. Louis County Councilman Mark Harder represents the area. He said it’s difficult to know what changes could be made before the investigation into the crash is completed.