Last week was pretty traumatic for our small town of Pleasant Hill, Missouri. In a moment, two young lives were lost after going over the center line in a car north on 7 Highway at a time when roads were covered with ice and snow. I passed the emergency vehicles on 7 Highway as they raced to the scene.
I went on back to the Times building to wait for information as it came in. I didn't want to disturb those working the accident scene. I guess reporters and other news stations will show up at scenes, but I have never found that to be helpful.
That night, I was working on the website at home when my daughter opened our bedroom door and said, "It was Chloey!" I wasn't sure what she meant at first and then it dawned on me. I put it together. I had seen all of the speculations all over the internet about an accident but had no idea it was fatal.
The shock was all over my daughter's face and all night she was texting her friends, trying to process what had happened. It's been a hard weekend watching her go through the grieving process and I am sure the rest of the girls are feeling the same.
Dan Bucher, owner of the Creamery, and I were communicating by messenger. He was in disbelief. He said that he had just given Reyna a raise. It was tough waiting for information to come in, and it finally did the next morning. I thought about whether or not to put the news on the Times' social media pages. I knew the rest of the world was going to, and that Pleasant Hill should know first from its own community news source.
I remember Chloey. She was a fun, charismatic, and joyful spirit. She called me "mom" a couple of times and joked that she was going to move in. It is hard to believe her life was snatched away so young, and our prayers go out to the family and to all her friends. Now, we as a community have to pick up the pieces and figure out how to help these youngsters process their loss and find a way to remember their friends that meant so much to them.
I will always remember how wonderful it was to see the community come together to raise funds for the families. The hearts are warm in Pleasant Hill. This community is special and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world.