Two mums and their daughters, both 12, were killed in a horror crash after a suspected drunk driver smashed into their van.
Former top volleyball stars Carrie Burton McCaw, 44, and Lesley Drury Prather, also 44, died alongside youngsters Kacey McCaw and Ryan Prather.
They had been driving to a volleyball tournament in Kansas City when a vehicle crossed the central barriers and swerved into their lane.
Suspected drunk driver Elijah Henderson, 29, is alleged to have lost control of his Ford F-250 before he crashed barriers and swerved into their lane.
Cops said Lesley Prather had no time to react when the SUV ploughed into the van.
Harrowing images of the crash showed the mangled wreckage and debris strewn across the motorway in St Charles.
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Witness Stephanie Huttegger raced over to the minivan carrying the two families, but “knew immediately” that three people had died.
Ms Huttegger told local media that she and other witnesses pulled one of the 12-year-old girls from the car and attempted CPR on her, but could not revive her.
The young girls played volleyball for KIVA Louisville Volleyball Club.
Assumption High School said posted on Facebook on Saturday: “The community of Assumption joins with the St Raphael and KIVA communities as we mourn the tragic loss of Carrie Burton McCaw ’94, her daughter, Kacey and their dear friends Lesley and Ryan Prather.
“We send our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers to the McCaw and Prather families.”
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Lesley Prather’s son Brennan shared a tribute to his mum and sister, which said: “I’m at a loss for words. I still don’t believe it’s real and I’m missing you guys more and more every second. There is so much love down here and I know you guys are watching.
“Ryan – mom and dad used to joke that I would be working for you and that’s kind of true. You were always the smart one and I was always jealous. I miss you, sweet girl.”
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Missouri highway cops said the crash was being treated as a criminal investigation and charges would be brought against Henderson.
The driver has not yet been formally apprehended as police wait on toxicology reports, according to local media.
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