The St. James community is mourning the loss of a young man who was killed Sunday in a car crash involving a train in Laclede County – exactly one year after a crash on Interstate 44 took the lives of two girls who would have graduated with the victim.
Troy Parker, 18, a 2013 graduate of John F. Hodge High School, was killed when the locomotive struck his Ford F-150 on Dunklin Road, three miles west of Lebanon, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol incident report.
The incident occurred around 10:42 a.m.
"They were all seniors together," said St. James R-1 School Superintendent Joy Tucker.
According to the report, Parker "failed to stop for [the] railroad crossing." Laclede County Coroner Steve Murrell pronounced Parker dead at the scene at 11:20 a.m.
This was the 24th fatality reported by the patrol's Troop I as of Sunday.
This is the fourth student from the John F. Hodge High School Class of 2013 killed in a vehicle crash.
A crash in 2010 involving a school bus full of St. James band students claimed the life of Jessica Brinker, 15, who Tucker said would have graduated with the other three.
On Dec. 15, 2012, a crash on I-44 resulted in the deaths of Alexa M. Bartlett, 18, and Nikki L. Stanley, 17, when Stanley apparently lost control of a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and ran off the right side of eastbound I-44 at mile marker 188.6 in Rolla. The vehicle then struck several trees and overturned.
Stanley and Bartlett were both ejected. Another passenger, 21-year-old Cory S. Rose of St. James, suffered serious injuries. None of the three individuals were wearing a seat belt, the patrol reported. The vehicle was totaled.
"Troy was a great kid," Tucker said Monday morning. "His mother (Sandy Parker) is a teacher here, and his dad (Chip Parker) is a retired teacher in Rolla.
Tucker said teachers and other staff members have made themselves available to support the family and that the district will give Sandy Parker "as much time as she needs."
"It brings it all back up," said Tucker. "It's by far the worst thing you have to deal with. Those are things that I'll carry with me forever. They are a part of who we are.
"It doesn't matter if [Troy] is in school or out of school. He's still one of our kids, and his mother is part of our faculty," Tucker said.
Visitation for Troy Parker will be held from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday at Jones Funeral Home, with a funeral scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. at St. James Christian Church. Graveside Services will be at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Dixon Cemetery at Dixon Mo.
Memorials are suggested to the St. James Christian Church Youth Fund.
Page 2 of 2 - Those wishing to leave online condolences may do so at www.jonesfunerals.com.
"It will be an empty house at the high school on Thursday," Tucker said. "We'll have a lot of faculty and kids that want to go."