A rollover crash around midnight Friday killed an Independence teenager and seriously injured four others.
Kristen Moore, 18, was at the wheel of a 2001 Kia heading eastbound on Interstate 70 in Saline County, about 100 miles east of Kansas City.
A possible defect with the vehicle may have caused it to begin to skid and leave the roadway, according to a Missouri Highway Patrol crash report.
Sgt. Collin Stosberg, a spokesperson with the patrol, said the crash remains under investigation when asked for an explanation of the possible defect.
The vehicle rolled multiple times, and four of the occupants were ejected. None of the five occupants was wearing a seat belt, according to the report.
Kristen was pronounced dead about eight hours later.
The other occupants, all from Independence, were: Livia Halla, 17; Celia Rodriguez Arredondo, 17; Tobias Seek, 20; and Seth Steele, 19.
Livia suffered a collapsed lung, bleeding in her brain and a broken rib. Her spleen was removed, according to Ali Halla, her older sister.
Kristen attended Fort Osage High School and worked at Chuck E. Cheese's, Ali Halla said, adding her sister's friend was a cat lover who enjoyed helping others.
McKenzie Moore, a friend of Kristen's and no relation, said the two met at Blue Hills Elementary School.
"She was smart, very cool to hang out with," McKenzie said.
They would often study together in middle school, and "when it came to anything personal, she would give me really good advice," McKenzie said.
Kristen's step-grandmother, Laura Estes, said Kristen loved children and was "a sweet little girl" who adored her stepsister.
Estes, who also lost a daughter in a wreck, empathized with Kristen's mother.
"I wish I could come and give (Kristen's mother) a big hug right now," Estes said. "It takes a long time, and sometimes you can never get rid of that in your life."