By Courtney Gousman
Florissant, MO (KSDK) - NewsChannel 5 is learning more about the circumstances surrounding the death of a Pattonville School District teacher. It happened on Sunday, and a St. Charles man has been charged in the teacher's death.
Two deaths actually resulted from what's being described as a horrific car accident here on westbound Interstate 270, just west of the West Florissant exit.
It happened early Sunday and investigators say a drunk driver, more than twice the legal limit, was responsible for the fatalities.
More than 300 students at Parkwood Elementary poured out their hearts, after learning of the loss of their physical education teacher, Steven Brueggen. Paper flowers expressing their sentiments were created.
"It's been hard for the staff and students at Parkwood. Everyone cared about Steve because he cared about everyone," said Greg Stoltz, a teacher at Parkwood Elementary.
Brueggen was riding in the back of a Tahoe early Sunday morning with six others when state troopers say their vehicle was rear-ended by a drunk driver.
"I've heard that the car flipped several, several times. And that my brother and the other young man that died were both ejected from the vehicle," said Lindsay Hauze, Brueggen's sister.
Brueggen's friend, Michael McLemore was also killed in the crash. Troopers say neither was wearing a seatbelt. Twenty-year-old Patrick Walsh was driving the truck that rammed into that Tahoe. He's now facing seven charges, including involuntary manslaughter and assault.
Troopers say Walsh was driving more than 100 miles an hour, with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.
"All you want is for people to make the right choice and there's so many people that go out on Friday and Saturday nights or any night of the week and they just drink and they think they're okay and they drive, but they're really not," says Hauze.
Brueggen's family tells me they're now are also advocating for passengers to always buckle up, no matter where you're sitting in a vehicle.
"It's so important that you also buckle in the back because you can be ejected from a vehicle in the back seat. Seatbelts can save lives. It's a proven fact," said Shannon Bensing, Brueggen's sister.
Pattonville District officials say Brueggen has been teaching Physical Education in the district for more than 12 years. Services for Brueggen are set for Thursday.