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O’FALLON, Ill. — An Illinois family is searching for answers after their teenage daughter was killed in a car accident on Friday.
“It’s really hard, it’s really hard,” said Kory Best.
Those are the only words Kory can come up with after his daughter, Madeline “Maddie” Best, was killed in a car crash on Friday. Kory said his wife and son are heartbroken by the loss. Maddie and her little brother were extremely close.
The 16-year-old junior was a student at O’Fallon Township High School. Last Friday, she was hanging out with three of her friends when their car crashed into a tree on Bowler Road near the north side of O’Fallon.
He said Maddie and her friends all were wearing seatbelts. Maddie was in the backseat.
Kory said he talked to his daughter to tell her he loved her 8 minutes before the crash.
“I’m not angry at what happened. It’s still in the process of being figured out. We want answers. We want them now and we want all the blanks filled,” Kory said.
He says his daughter was unconscious at the scene and died later at the hospital. All three of Maddie’s friends survived the crash.
Best said his family has received no additional information from the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department about the investigation of the crash.
Through it all, the Best family just wants people to remember Maddie for her love of tennis, student council and her loving personality. Already they’ve had dozens of students come to their home and drop off cards and flowers in her honor. He says many have stepped up and decorated her parking spot at school after the 16-year-old received her license in September.
“That’s what really means the most to us and it just fills the void just a little bit. We know the answers will come but it’s not going to change the outcome and we’re not dwelling on that,” Kory said.
The Best family says they know they’ll get answers with time.
Dr. Beth Shackelford, the interim O’Fallon Township High School Superintendent, released a statement saying, in part:
“Over the weekend, we were informed that OTHS junior Madeline (Maddie) Best passed away following an automobile accident on Friday evening. Our entire school community is devastated by Maddie’s death, and we have the Best family in our most heartfelt thoughts as we all struggle to cope with this immense loss. Support services have been made available and communicated to all of our students and families as they navigate this difficult time. Maddie was a very special student who made such a positive impact on the lives of her classmates and our school. She was a vibrant student in her classes, on the tennis courts, and a student leader in student council. She represented all the best ideals that we hope to see in our students, and she will be so severely missed.”
The high school said support services have been made available to students and families during this time.
Correction on Oct. 24, 2023: An earlier version of this report stated that the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department had not responded to multiple requests for information. The department on Tuesday released basic details about the crash, citing an ongoing investigation.
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