A popular circus juggler and acrobat was identified Tuesday as the victim of a fatal St. Louis traffic accident, four days after his car crashed into a concrete support for a railroad trestle.
Reginald Moore's head and face were severely burned and his injuries so severe it took authorities extra time to make a positive identification, police said.
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A passing motorist stopped and pulled the 21-year-old Moore from the car before it completely caught fire, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Moore, who worked for Circus Harmony, was among 140 students enrolled at the circus school at City Museum in St. Louis, and had been with the circus about four years.
"He was like a big little kid," said Jessica Hentoff, artist executive director of Circus Harmony. "He loved being in the circus. He became circus boy. The circus was the best place for him."
Hentoff said Moore, 6-foot-6, was about 300 pounds when he started the circus and lost 50 pounds in the first six months. He sought to improve his conditioning so he could re-audition for a prestigious circus school in Canada, she said.
"How many guys that size can do somersaults and back handsprings? He was a big guy, but he could fly," Hentoff said.
Terry Laney, 33, was at his mother's house near the wreck scene when a loud boom from the crash caught their attention. Laney ran to the scene.
"It's smoking and there is a fire coming from up under the hood and starting to come in the car," he said.
Laney ran to the passenger side door, but it was jammed. He yanked open the door on the driver's side. Laney said he could tell Moore was dead but didn't want him to be consumed by a fire that was in the dashboard area and growing.
"I thought about his mother, and I wanted her to see her son one last time," Laney said.