FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO. (KPLR) - A young mother preparing for her last year of high school was struck and killed early Friday by an underage driver who lost control of a stolen car. Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelker is asking the county's juvenile court to issue second degree murder charges against the 13 year old driver.
17-year old Aubrey Nothum of Washington was stopped at a red light on west bound Highway 100 at Highway 47 just after midnight. A Chevy S10 pickup driven by a 13-year old girl from Union slammed into the driver's side door of her car. She was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur where she died.
Sheriff Toelke said one of his deputies spotted the pickup truck heading north on Highway 47 toward Washington just after midnight. The driver was swerving on and off the shoulder of the road so the deputy began to follow what he thought was a drunk driver. Dash cam video from the deputy's car shows what happened. "At first the speeds were relatively low... 30 to 40 miles an hour," the sheriff said. But when the officer turned on his red lights, the vehicle refused to stop and sped up going off the road a couple more times.
Toelke says his deputy began to back off after the driver drove through a red light at Steuterman Rd. He notified dispatch and a Washington City police officer was waiting on the west side of the Highway 100/47 intersection. The young driver started to turn to the right away from the Washington City police car. The sheriff said, "while she was increasing speed she lost control in that turn and went directly into the victim's car that was parked on the east side of the intersection facing west."
Sheriff Toelke believes his deputy properly followed procedures since he suspected the pickup truck driver was drunk. "No matter how you look at something like this it is terrible and I know the deputy feels bad about it because you are always second guessing yourself."
Aubrey Nothum is the niece of Al Nothum, the Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman for the St. Louis area. Sgt. Nothum described his niece as a "straight A" student at Washington High School. She was also the mother of an 18-month old son Jaxon Nothum. A fund to benefit the child has been set up at the Bank of Washington, P.O. Box 377, Washington, MO 63090. Checks can be made out to the Jaxon Nothum Benefit Fund.
The young woman was working as a lifeguard this summer at her hometown pool. Recently she rescued a young swimmer who was in distress. She is survived by her parents, a sister and a brother. Her parents plan to raise their grandson.
Nothum leaves behind a one-year-old son. A fund has been set up for him:
Jaxon Nothum Benefit Fund
c/o Bank of Washington
PO Box 377
Washington Missouri 63090