BENTON COUNTY, Mo. -- Two young men are dead and four more spent Saturday night in the hospital following a car accident near the Lake of the Ozarks.
A crash report from the Missouri Highway Patrol says 20-year-old Mark Harken of Prairie Village, Kan. was driving a Ford Explorer on a county road slightly south of Missouri Route 7 in Benton County at about 2 Saturday afternoon when he lost control. Investigators say he drove off the road, hit a group of trees and overturned the Explorer.
Harken died in the crash as did 18-year-old Clayton Miller of Kansas City, Mo. Nineteen-year-old David Draxler and 20-year-old Lukas Fleming, both from Prairie Village, were seriously injured and taken by life-flight to metro hospitals.
Twenty-year-old Gage Hamilton of Overland Park, Kan. was seriously injured and taken to a hospital in Columbia, Mo., and 20-year-old Evan Westhoff of Fairway, Kan. was also seriously injured and taken to a metro hospital by life-flight.
FOX 4 spoke with Harken’s mother Sunday morning. She said her son was into robotics, wood working and fireworks. She said her son was an “amazing kid” who “affected in a positive way everyone he touched.” She said she couldn’t ask for a better son.
She told FOX 4 he was an Eagle Scout and his friends were headed to get some Peach Nehi floats, an ice-cream-drink that is a favorite among Boy Scouts in the area, and see more fireworks.
She said she's comforted by the fact that just the night before, she was able to spend time with her oldest son around family and friends, celebrating the Independence Day holiday. She said the group of boys is a close-knit one and when one hurts, they all hurt. She offered this reminder to parents: “Hug your kids.”
Harken’s mother also told us she spoke with the mothers of the four injured young men. She said they’re all in stable condition. We also heard from Overland Park Regional that Fleming is in fair condition.