Bar owner speaks out after student killed by suspected drunk driver who crashed into building

MARYVILLE, Mo. -- A Northwest Missouri State University student died early Sunday after a driver crashed into a bar she was at, according to a release from the university.

Morgan McCoy

Morgan McCoy, 19, of Liberty, Mo. died as a result of injuries she sustained when a vehicle crashed into the The Palms Bar & Grill, at 422 N. Buchanan around 12:40 a.m.

McCoy was inside the building, the school said in the release, and was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A Maryville city ordinance allows anyone 19 years old or older into bars.

The driver was taken into custody. The accident is still under investigation by Maryville Public Safety and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Alex Allen Catterson

Update: 21-year-old man charged after crashing into Maryville bar, killing 19-year-old NWMSU student from Liberty

Retired police officer Erik Schreiber owns The Palms Bar in Maryville. He said he is very serious about safety in his establishment. He said the hours following this tragic event have been devastating

Schreiber set up a GoFundMe memorial fund to help McCoy's family with funeral expenses.

Erik Schreiber, owner of The Palms bar and grill

"It’s been a really rough to deal with, knowing that inside those walls I did everything I could and a random bad decision by somebody affects the whole community like this," Schreiber said.

The GoFundMe page gave an account of the events, saying, "Morgan was out having some fun with her friends when a random drunk driver crashed into the bar she was in. Morgan was literally walking out the door when the driver plowed into the building, causing extensive damage and her to pass away shortly after from her injuries. The driver had a blood alcohol level of .207."

KMA News Sunday morning reported Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice has charged the driver, identified as 21-year-old Alex Allen Catterson of Maryville, with first degree involuntary manslaughter -- a Class C Felony.

Photo via GoFundMe.

"The Highway Patrol takes that very seriously; that’s one of our number one priorities is removing those drivers from the roadway,” said Trooper Chad Dollard with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "Not only are they endangering themselves, they are endangering everyone else on the roadway so it’s a high priority to get them off the roadway."

McCoy was a sophomore elementary education major, and also a member of Sigma Kappa sorority.

Spring semester classes begin on Monday.