ODESSA, Mo. -- A 16-year-old Odessa girl is the latest metro teen to die in an auto accident. The most recent fatality happened on Johnson Drive, a gravel road on the outskirts of Odessa.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ashley Waddell came close to running off of the country road, overcorrected, lost control, ran up an embankment and was thrown from the SUV when it flipped over.
“She always wore her seat belt and she didn’t. Why? I don’t understand,” said Ashley’s sister, Erica Waddell.
That question is among many the family is left wondering about after Missouri State Highway Patrol officers and Lafayette County sheriff’s deputies showed up at the store where Erica and her mother, Shelley Waddell, work.
"I was like, it's Ashley, isn't it?" said Shelley. "We couldn't understand, we didn't believe it, just too surreal," the mother said through her tears.
Ashley’s family says everyone liked her, describing her as friendly, loving and selfless. The teenager was proud that she recently got an award for academic excellence. The family is still recovering from another tragedy.
"I lost my husband almost four years ago for cancer and now I lost my baby girl, it's just not fair,” said Shelley.
The thought that her baby is now with her dad does bring some comfort to the family, trying to remember the happy days they had. Erica sang a song the sisters played over and over on a road trip, and talked about their frequent fights over clothes. Just last week, Ashley got caught by a family friend wearing her sister’s green dress to school without permission.
"So when she gets home from school, Woody was like I am going to need you to take that dress off to prevent World War III,” said Erica, “and she says, 'I'm not worried about my sister.'"
Now the sister is not worried about the dress. In fact, Erica is giving it to her sister forever; it is the dress Ashley will be buried in.
Erica laughed as she imagined what her sister would say,
“I think she would get the last laugh, like ha, I got your dress.”