NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho Police Department said text messages sent and received on a Carthage girl's phone within seconds of an accident that resulted in her death on Wednesday indicate she may have been the victim of a nationwide problem.
Neosho Police Sgt. Jason Baird said Kendra McNamara, 18, Carthage, was killed in the crash at 12:25 p.m. Wednesday on Lyon Drive near Crowder College, where McNamara was a student.
Police said the 2006 Chevy Aveo McNamara was driving left the road, hit an embankment and overturned.
They said McNamara was not wearing a seatbelt and was partially ejected from the vehicle during the accident.
Baird said witness statements indicated McNamara's vehicle was swerving just before the accident and it appeared she was using her phone to send text messages while driving.
Baird said investigators recovered the phone and found text messages sent and received within seconds of the accident.
“I wasn't in the car with her, so I can't say definitively she was texting and driving, but that's the implication,” Baird said.
Gregory Oliver, a co-worker of McNamara’s at the Carthage Walmart store, said people were talking about the accident and McNamara’s death at work.
“One of the ladies I talked to said she would describe her as spunky, outgoing and easy to talk to,” Oliver said. “I would have said that, but I would have added bubbly too. She was easy to talk to and very polite all the time. Even when she was having a bad day, she wouldn’t worry about it and would be in a spirited mood all the time. She was real down-to-earth and very much a girl-next-door.”
Oliver said he had become friends with McNamara on the social networking site Facebook only four days before she was killed.
A number of friends have turned McNamara's Facebook page into a memorial, leaving loving messages to her.
“Always a kind word, Always said with a smile,” said Angela Aguas on McNamara's Facebook page. “You're gone from me for now, but only for a little while. Every Laugh, every tear, Everything you ever said to me, A true friend you were, A best friend you'll always be. Tears (fall) like raindrops, And I'm at a loss of what to do. No words can describe the pain I feel, Nor how much I miss you.”