Family, friends gather for birthday party for Smithville girl killed in drunk driving crash

SMITHVILLE, Mo. – Dozens of people went to a birthday celebration Thursday night in Smithville, but the birthday girl wasn’t there.

Macklyn Lucas would’ve turned 6 years old Thursday. The friends, the food, the décor -- it was all there at Heritage Park. It’s the guest of honor who sadly wasn’t.

Her mom, Samantha Jones, was driving one night last summer in Platte County when she crashed into an electric pole. She told investigators she’d been drinking wine that evening.

Macklyn Lucas

Macklyn was hurt in the wreck and died three days later at a hospital.

“We love Macklin, celebrated a lot of birthdays with her, and we miss her and want her family to know that we remember and care," Kimberlea Dupuis said. "It's tough."

Sara Carrell taught Macklyn pre-K.

“They’re not like adults," she said. "They have -- with them it’s, 'She’s in Heaven,' and that’s an OK answer to them. They don’t really ask much beyond that."

It’s why these kids and their families can play and laugh, write notes to Macklyn and send them up.

“They know they can’t see and touch her, but they still talk to her and they still sing to her at school," Carrell said. "Grace is, this is it. Everybody is coming together and loving, supportive.”

Carrell said to be “More Like Macklyn” means “to just keep a smile. You’re not judging anybody. You are happy. You love everyone. She could light up a room just by walking in and all eyes were on her.”

Jones was at the party, but she didn’t go on camera since she’s awaiting her sentence. She pleaded guilty to felony DWI.

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