One last time, childhood friends Hailey Hochanadel and Ashley Lamb went out with a group of young people on a powerful boat into the night across the Lake of the Ozarks they loved so much.
Their last summer as college students was on. The two best friends, inseparable since kindergarten, were reunited on the water as they took a ride on the boat with some fellow Olathe School District graduates.
“They loved the lake,” Hailey’s father, Rich Hochanadel, told The Star on Sunday. “They loved their friends.”
A stunning crash in the after-midnight dark killed Hailey Hochanadel, 21, and inflicted serious wounds on Lamb, 21, who was airlifted to a Springfield Hospital.
Two other friends on the boat — Joseph LeMark, 23, and Daniel Lewis, 24, both of Overland Park — also died.
The driver of the boat, 22-year-old Hayden M. Frazier of Overland Park, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of boating while intoxicated related to the death of other persons and serious physical injury, and negligent operation of a vessel.
Frazier, who suffered moderate injuries, was released from jail Sunday, and as of Sunday evening, prosecutors in Camden County had not said whether charges would be filed.
Frazier was driving the friends on a 1991 Regal Runabout after midnight when the boat crashed into a bluff near the 47.5 mile marker in the main channel of the lake, the Missouri Highway Patrol reported.
Both Hochanadel and Lamb had relatives and friends who owned homes on the lake, and they had visited the Ozarks vacation spot regularly over the years, Rich Hochanadel said.
“They were inseparable,” he said.
They had been friends since kindergarten in Olathe’s Regency Place Elementary School, continuing at California Trail Middle School and Olathe East High School, where at least four of the friends on the boat went to high school.
Hochanadel and Lamb grew up together, played soccer, were good students and shared a love for sports on the water.
Hochanadel was going into her senior year at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she was pursuing a degree in English and Spanish. Lamb is a marketing major at Kansas State University.
The grieving for Hochanadel will be hard. She was “a kind soul,” her father said, “who loved helping others.”
The investigation of the crash continues and Rich Hochanadel said he doesn’t want to speculate on what caused the crash. He said he is not angry. He understands Frazier is said to have been driving the boat.
“There’s no value in being mad,” he said. “Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I feel tremendous sorrow for him.”
The patrol reported that Frazier, Hochanadel and LeMark were ejected into the water. Frazier was able to crawl back into the boat and paddled it a half-mile across the channel to the dock at Simmons Point.
On social media, friends of the five Olathe School District alums shared waves of shock and dismay throughout the weekend.
“Cannot believe how many fellow Olathe East classmates I have lost since graduation,” one graduate posted.
Hochanadel and Lamb’s friendship also glowed in what they had posted in the past.
More than a year ago, Hochanadel saw a picture Lamb had posted of herself on her Facebook page.
“My bestie is so pwetty,” she wrote.
Lamb sent her reply: “Miss you.”