Friends of Harrisonville mom killed in hit-and-run open up following news of arrest

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. -- Friends are remembering a small-town Harrisonville mother as prosecutors announced charges Thursday in her death. Megan Wheeler was killed over the weekend in a hit-and-run crash off Interstate 49, about two miles north of Harrisonville.

Holly Miles watched Wheeler grow up.

"My son and her started in second grade together and went all the way through high school. She loved to talk. She was one of those people that would chat with you for 30 minutes at the store," Miles said.

As she copes with the death of a small-town girl she said everyone loved, Miles described a young woman who had people laughing even back then. Miles recalled a Halloween from years past: "The girls took my son upstairs and dressed him as a girl and fixed his hair and put makeup on him. He was quite the handsome guy that night!"

The happy memories are tainted by the truth that 32-year-old mother is gone; killed overnight Saturday in a hit-and-run crash off I-49.

"When something like this happens, it hurts all of us," Miles said of their close-knit community.

Twenty-year-old old Cody Alford of Peculiar is facing a felony charge for leaving the scene of an accident. Prosecutors said he crashed his truck into an intersection in rural Freeman, Mo., Tuesday night.

A Cass County deputy who went to the crash scene noticed pieces missing from Alford's truck that were found near where Megan did. The deputy said Alford became "evasive in his answer" when he asked him about the missing light. Police brought Alford in Wednesday and now his damaged truck sits on police property.

Miles said another piece that's hard to stomach is the fact Megan, her fiance, and their five combined kids were all planning for the couple's wedding in May.

"The photographer had already been hired, she'd already talked to the minister, all of those plans are just gone. It's just hard to fathom. I still can't take it all in," Miles said.

"She was like a star. She just beamed at all times. And someone has dampened that light."

Police said if Alford hadn't crashed his truck into a tree Tuesday night, it would've been a lot harder to find him since his truck is a common make and model. Alford remained behind bars Thursday with a bond set at $10,000.

Friends planned a celebration of life for Megan Wheeler at the Harrisonville City Park Amphitheater Thursday night. Check back with FOX 4 for more from the event.