Elijah Henderson, 31, pleaded guilty to a crash that killed a pair of mothers and daughters as they headed to a volleyball tournament in 2020
A Missouri man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after losing control of his pickup truck and killing two Kentucky mothers and their 12-year-old daughters on Valentine’s Day 2020 when he crashed head-on into their minivan.
Elijah Henderson, 31, of St. Charles, pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, online court records show.
He was sentenced to four 10-year prison terms, which he will serve concurrently.
The fatal accident occurred on Feb. 14, 2020, when former volleyball star Carrie McCaw, 44, and her daughter Kacey McCaw, 12, and fellow volleyball legend Lesley Prather, 40, and her daughter Rhyan Prather, 12, of Louisville, were driving to a volleyball tournament in Kansas City, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The four were driving on Interstate 64 near St. Louis just after 11 a.m. when Henderson’s truck crossed a median, overturned and struck their minivan head-on, the Louisville Courier Journalreports.
Henderson told investigators he lost control of his pickup truck, 5 On Your Side reports.
“I was driving and I made the mistake of trying to reach over and roll up the passenger window and lost control of the vehicle,” Henderson said in court, per the outlet.
At the time, Henderson told police he smoked pot the night before the crash, court records show, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
At first, prosecutors said they believed that THC — the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties — was the reason for the crash, the Courier Journal reports.
But in court Monday, St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar said a crash reconstructionist determined that the fatal accident was the result of Henderson losing sight of the road while leaning over to try to adjust the window, 5 On Your Side reports.
THC in his system did not impair his ability to drive, Lohmar said, the Courier Journal reports.
Henderson did not intend for this to happen, Lohmar said in court Monday, according to 5 On Your Side. But when certain conduct rises to the level of recklessness, “there has to be some consequence,” he said.
A mother of four, Lesley was a Louisville firefighter and former volleyball player for the University of Louisville.
A “standout player,” Lesley led the team to three conference championships and four NCAA appearances, CNN reports.
Carrie, a mother of four and attorney who was also described as a “standout athlete,” played volleyball at Syracuse University, where she broke records, CNN reports.
Both moms coached for Kiva, one of the top junior volleyball clubs in the country.