Victim identified from fatal accident on McCausland

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - A Brentwood woman is killed crossing McCausland Avenue at Plateau Avenue in West St. Louis while leaving a popular St. Louis restaurant.

The accident happened just before 7:00 pm Sunday night in front of the Olympia Kebob House.

The victim, Candi McNeal, 45, and her husband Jay were crossing McCausland, headed for their car.  As regular customers it was something they had done dozens of times before.

But this time, Candi McNeal never made it to the other side.

Allex Oelkers, 21, was heading home from a funeral when she spotted the victim lying on the ground just moments after she`d been hit.

'(Her husband) he was just distraught, saying, `stay with me, I love you baby, stay with me`' Oelkers said. 'It was a scary scene, it was absolutely terrifying.'

Jay McNeal tells FOX 2 he and his wife pressed the crosswalk button, but did not wait for the light to change because it seemed safe.

Seconds later, Candi McNeal was struck, first by a car headed south, which then pushed her into the path of a pick-up truck headed north.

She died at the hospital.

'It is horrible, it breaks my heart,' said George Nicholas, manager of the Olympia Kebob House. He is also the owner`s son.

'Nobody wants to see that kind of thing happen, especially in front of your own business,' Nicholas said.

That sadness is a very familiar feeling for the family that owns the restaurant.

In December 2004, an 82-year-old customer was killed crossing the same intersection.

That accident led the city to install a traffic light at the crosswalk.

Police have also been trying to get drivers to go slower by writing tickets and putting in place an electronic sign that shows drivers their speed.

But some say the interval between the walk and don`t walk signals at the intersection is so long, some pedestrians lose patience.

'You get impatient but it is not worth the price it could cost you,' Nicholas said.

Todd Waelterman, St. Louis Director of Streets says changing the timing might an option.

'There is always something we can do. To say there is nothing we can do is wrong and the Mayor has given me the strong word that we need to do something about this,' he said.

Waelterman also says one option may be to replace to walk/don`t walk signal with a new one that displays how many seconds are left before it is safe to cross.

A police investigation into the accident is underway but neither driver was ticketed.

Candi McNeal worked as an investment compliance risk officer for Commerce Trust Company in Clayton.

The president of the company, Ray Stranghoener released the following statement:

'We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague, Candi McNeal. Our condolences go out to her husband, Jay, her son, Jesse, and everyone that knew and loved Candi. We will remember her for her dedication to her work and the dry sense of humor that made working with her such a pleasure.

Candi joined the trust company in June of 2000 and was investment compliance risk officer. Candi played a major role in developing and managing our investment compliance program, working closely with commerce trust company management and individual portfolio managers.

Candi will be missed.'

Previous Coverage:

Pedestrian struck twice on McCausland