Family struggles to understand the ‘why and how’ of deadly accident that killed SMW teen

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Friends and family mourn a popular 17-year-old high school student, killed Tuesday in a crossover accident at I-435 and Lackman in Lenexa.

FOX 4's Melissa Stern spoke to a few of the many who love Houston St. John and already miss him terribly.

They say he loved God, musical theater, his family and friends.

"He was the type of child who was the life of the party," said Houston's mom, Theresa. "He loved football. He loved music and theater."

Houston's father was the first to find out the terrible news that their son had lost control of his car and died in the crash.  He said he knows God had a great plan for his son's life.

"I got out of the car, and I said, 'Is that a Pontiac?' And that's when the police came over and I said 'No, Please. no," remembered Houston's father, who is a minister. "Because of accidents, things happen in life that you can't explain."

Houston had many talents and hobbies, but his real passion was performing, his mother told FOX 4.

"He just loved being on stage, oh my stars, he literally came alive when he went onstage," his mom said. "He had so much talent. And every night he would come home and say mom, 'Did I do OK?'"

Houston St. John is the second student to die in the last two months at Shawnee Mission West High School, and like Andre Maloney, is deeply missed.

"He was always a happy person. He always.... I'm sorry," said Houston's girlfriend, Maggie Marx, 16.

The two met last year when they were both cast int he play "Footloose."

"I just like to think that he's going to come back, that this never happened, and everything will be OK."

Houston was on his way to dress rehearsal for a play he was in through Christian Youth Theater, when the accident happened.  He was to play Tarzan in the play and Thursday was opening night. That show will go on, a decision the artistic director made with Houston's parents.

"She said, 'I hope you guys are going on with the show because Houston would really want you to.' So we all have decided that's what we'll do. That's why we're gonna do it. It's for him. he would want that," said Gina Milbourn with the Christian Youth Theater KC.

Related: Andre Maloney gave to others, even in his death

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