Drag racing may have
led to crash that killed teen
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
teenage boys may be charged with vehicular manslaughter after a car
driven by one of them in a race against the other went out of control
and killed a girl returning home from a library, police said.
alleged drag race was Monday evening on Lemay Ferry Road in south St.
Louis County, about a mile from where a teenager died about six months
before in another wreck with drag racing ties.
Landholt, 17, of south St. Louis County, a senior at Mehlville High
School, died Monday night at St. Anthony's Medical Center. Her 1998
Nissan Altima collided head-on with a 1992 Chevrolet Camaro that police
said had been in the race.
said the 16-year-old driver of the Camaro apparently lost control and
crossed into oncoming traffic near Ringer Road about 6:30 p.m.
boy, a student at Lindbergh High School, was seriously injured and in
stable condition Tuesday. His passengers, two girls ages 14 and 15,
suffered minor injuries.
arrested the 17-year-old driver of the other vehicle, which they said
was in the race. Officials said they would seek manslaughter charges
against him and may seek a juvenile charge against the 16-year-old.
least eight teenagers, including Megan, have been killed in
speed-related crashes in South County in the last 18 months.
said Megan, who lived with her mother, Barbara Landholt, in the 3700
block of Huntington Valley, had left a public library before the wreck.
She was driving south on Lemay Ferry when her car was struck.
said she transferred last year to Mehlville from De Soto High School
when her parents, Barbara and David Landholt, separated. She has a
brother, David Landholt, 21.
Davis, the De Soto High School basketball coach, said Megan was smart
and hard working. She kept statistics for the basketball team and
organized golf fund-raisers during the summer.
was a fun and easygoing young lady," Davis said. "She'd
accomplish any task you gave her."
and school officials said they tried to educate teenagers about the
dangers of the road. They suggested that a proposal to limit the number
of passengers riding with a new driver, under consideration by the
Missouri Department of Revenue, might be one way to help.
goes a long way," said Maj. Tim Fitch, patrol commander of the St.
Louis County police. "But peer pressure trumps everything. Kids are
showing off for their friends. If they were by themselves, there would
be no one else to show off to."
school officials say they emphasize safety in driver education classes
and in the DARE anti-drug program. Students in the Mehlville forensics
class see photos of crash scenes and talk about the causes of fatal
developed a program for teenagers called "Arrive Alive" that
includes crash scene photos and gruesome details to make its point.
10 fatal crashes in the South County police precinct last year, half
were on some part of Lemay Ferry, officers said.
don't' think the road itself is causing it," Fitch said. "It's
someone pressing the gas pedal that causes it."
Mehlville students approached Officer Charlie Rodriguez, the school
resource officer, on Tuesday to ask what more they could do.
feel very frustrated and mad. They have a lot of emotion built up,"
Rodriguez said. "They want to take a stand because that could have
been them or a family member behind the wheel."
of the same students knew two Mehlville graduates who were killed July
30 on Lemay Ferry near Providence Place Drive.
M. Hearst and Kevin A. Houska, both 19, were killed when the car in
which they were riding hit a guardrail at a curve. Police said the
driver, Brandon Ostendorf, 20, had been drag racing shortly before
losing control. He was indicted on two counts of vehicular manslaughter.
recent South County fatal crashes involving teens include:
19: Patrick J. Limmer, 15, of south St. Louis County, was killed when
the speeding car he was driving lost control while jumping hills in the
13300 block of West Watson Road. Police said Patrick, a sophomore at St.
Mary's High School, was not a licensed driver. Two passengers were
treated for minor injuries.
15: Greg Formhals and Ryan Devine, 16, students at Lindbergh High
School, were killed when Formhals lost control of his Mitsubishi Eclipse
in wet and windy conditions on Gravois Road near Chateau Chura Drive.
Their car veered into oncoming traffic and struck a sport utility
vehicle with five people inside.
26, 2001: Michael Fendler, 19, and Jordan Feager, 19, both former
students in the Mehlville School District, were killed in a hill-jumping
incident along Patterson Road near Yeager Court. Police said Fendler
might have been driving in excess of 100 mph. Two others in the car were
recent South County fatal crashes involving teens:
19: Patrick J. Limmer of south St. Louis County was killed when the
speeding car he was driving lost control while jumping hills on West
15: Lindbergh High School students Greg Formhals and Ryan Devine were
killed when Formhals lost control of his car in wet and windy conditions
on Gravois Road.
30: Mehlville graduates Jonathan M. Hearst and Kevin A. Houska were
killed when the car in which they were riding hit a guardrail at a
26, 2001: Michael Fendler and Jordan Feager, both former students in the
Mehlville School District, were killed in a hill-jumping incident along
Reporter Heather Ratcliffe:
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