ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A man and woman were killed when their vehicle hit a light pole in St. Louis County overnight. Now, their family members are caring for their three surviving children.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a 2003 Honda Odyssey was taking the ramp from eastbound Interstate 270 to Bellefontaine Road when it ran off the side of the roadway, hit a light pole and overturned around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. The man and woman inside were thrown from the vehicle and died.
The victims were later identified as Kathryn Givens, 33, and Jonathan Shead, 36, both of St. Louis. They leave behind three children, ages 2, 4, and 5.
"Good parents. Good dad, excellent mother. Took care of their children," said Jackueline Stewart, Givens’ mother.
She spoke of the couple's contributions to the community and our country.
"He was an Iraqi veteran, loved his kids, loved her. They were supposed to get married," said Stewart.
Shead recently worked as a math tutor for Blueprint Schools Network in the East St. Louis School District.
“He was a wonderful and powerful tutor and role model,” said Matt Spengler, executive director of Blueprint, a network of full-time AmeriCorps tutors that works to close achievement gaps. “Always smiling. Had a talent, a natural way of connecting with people.”
"The community knew her from the church community, from the football field to the cheerleading coaching. She was a person that everybody loved. She had a radiant personality," said Chasity Smith, Givens’ sister.
Stewart and Smith are now caring for the couple's children.
"These shoes are too big for my feet but I have to walk in them. I have no choice. If anybody out there believes in God, pray for me because I'm in uncharted waters now," said Stewart.
"The kids don't want for much but they want for their parents and that's the thing we can't give them. So if you have nothing to give, just give us your prayers. Because that will go where humans cannot go," said Smith.
The family set up a GoFundMe to help with unexpected expenses as they try to give these children the life their parents would have wanted.
"They believed in education. They believed in freedom. They loved them so much and they would encourage them to be the best they could be in life and we want to keep that going," said Smith.