Her business was real estate, but animals were the passion and love of Antwinette Holtsclaw’s life.
The menagerie on her rural Platte County property included horses, goats, dogs and a couple of potbellied pigs.
But now, it will be up to others to carry on her mission.
Holtsclaw, 54, was killed Monday afternoon when a suspected carjacker, fleeing from Highway Patrol troopers, lost control of the car he was driving and collided with Holtsclaw as she drove on Missouri 92 just minutes from her home. The driver of the stolen vehicle was also killed.
“She was compassionate about animals,” often taking in abandoned or unwanted creatures, said her friend and co-worker, Shana Sharp.
Holtsclaw grew up in Raytown and graduated from Raytown South High School, said her brother, Dwayne Throneberry.
She had been a real estate agent for many years and owned her own company for about a decade, he said.
“She was an unbelievably hardworking woman, even with her health problems,” her brother said.
Holtsclaw had to undergo dialysis three days a week and had a dialysis session earlier Monday.
“She was a tough gal,” Throneberry said.
Her love of animals was a family trait, he said, although she had become “kind of a cowgirl,” with a soft spot for creatures that weren’t always in good shape when she acquired them.
“It was kind of like the island of misfit toys,” Throneberry said.
On Monday, after her dialysis treatment, she had stopped at the store in Platte City operated by Sharp’s husband to get something to eat before she headed home.
Her brother said she was only about three minutes from home when the crash occurred.
Sharp, who worked with Holtsclaw for about five years at the business owned by Holtsclaw, the Weston Real Estate Co., said her friend called her Monday as she sat outside her husband’s store.
Sharp had just celebrated her 33rd wedding anniversary Sunday, and Holtsclaw called her early Monday to ask her how her weekend went. They also talked about the upcoming second birthday for Sharp’s granddaughter.
“Antwinette was excited about coming to the party,” she said.
Later in the afternoon, Sharp said, she was driving when she came across the road closure because of the crash. She didn’t know that her friend was involved.
“I texted Antwinette to warn her that the road was closed,” Sharp said. “I didn’t want her to get caught in that mess.”
A little later after not hearing from her, Sharp called and left her a message.
Normally, Holtsclaw would call right back, Sharp said.
This time she didn’t.
By early evening, the road was still closed for the investigation, and Sharp tried to reach her friend again.
“You’re worrying me. Please let me know you’re OK,” Sharp said she told her in the message.
A short time later she learned that Holtsclaw had been killed.
“She was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known,” Sharp said. “She was giving and kind.”
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, 27-year-old Randy L. Hartline of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was engaged in a string of crimes that started earlier in the day when he stole a car in Council Bluffs. Authorities said he then drove to St. Joseph, where he stole three more vehicles.
Notified by St. Joseph police, troopers were looking out for the suspect when police in Platte City reported that a 2003 Buick was taken in a carjacking outside of a store on Missouri 92.
Minutes later, while responding to the area of a burglary-in-progress report, troopers spotted the suspect vehicle and began to pursue it.
The suspect was driving east on Missouri 92 and was about two-tenths of a mile west of Ode Road when a westbound vehicle made what troopers called a “bad pass” of another vehicle. The suspect swerved off the road to avoid the passing car, but overcorrected and collided with the westbound Kia sport utility vehicle driven by Holtsclaw.
Patrol spokesman Sgt. Collin Stosberg said investigators will be conducting a full reconstruction of the crash.
Hartline had a criminal record going back about a decade, according to authorities with the county attorney’s office in Pottawattamie County, Iowa.
He had three pending cases that were scheduled to go to trial next month, officials there said.
One case involved an allegation of sexual abuse, and in another, he was charged with disarming a police officer and interfering with official duty.
The third case involved charges of child endangerment and false imprisonment.