11-year-old girl dies in car crash

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Students at Eagle Ridge Christian School are mourning a classmate killed in a car crash Tuesday that also badly injured three Cape Girardeau teen-agers.

Brittany McDonald, 11, died when the car her sister April McDonald, 16, was driving vaulted off a curve on County Road 206 just west of Cape Girardeau and struck a tree, Missouri State Highway Patrol reports showed.

The accident happened at about 3:30 p.m. after April McDonald picked her sister up from school.

Blake Barks, 15, and Erica McDowell, 16, also were passengers in the car. All were trapped until emergency crews arrived. April McDonald was flown to Southeast Missouri Hospital, and the others were taken there by ambulance.

Brittany McDonald, the daughter of Bobby and Lula McDonald, was pronounced dead in the emergency room. April McDonald remained at the hospital in serious condition late Tuesday.

Blake Barkes was listed in fair condition and Erica McDowell in good condition.

Classes will be in session at Eagle Ridge until 1 p.m. today before being let out for the Thanksgiving holiday. School officials said Christian Faith Fellowship Church pastor Mark Carbaugh and school chaplain Tony Hammack will be on hand to counsel children who need it.

Eagle Ridge principal Janice Margrabe said this is the second time in two years she's had to break the news to her daughter Kristen that one of her classmates had died.

In May 2000, 9-year-old Lacey Edwards died from a cerebral aneurysm.

"It's hard to accept," Margrabe said. "You're never ready to lose a child."

She said there's some consolation in the fact that the girls knew Jesus Christ.

Margrabe and other teachers at the school called the parents of the other 16 students in Brittany's class Tuesday night so they wouldn't have to hear the news at school.

Clint Karnes, school board president at Eagle Ridge, was one of those parents. His daughter, Katie, 11, was in the same class as Brittany.

"We just want to make sure to answer any questions she has and make sure she is OK," Karnes said. "She is concerned about Brittany's best friend, who was in the same class. We're trying to be there for her and give her extra hugs tonight."

Margrabe said Brittany was a good student. She described her as tall and athletic.

"We had her primed to be a basketball player," she said.

Managing editor Heidi Hall contributed to this report.


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