Hailey Grace Zenk is a 17-year-old girl from Winfield, Missouri, who was involved in a fatal car accident that claimed the lives of three other teenagers and injured another one on February 5, 2023. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Zenk was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt southbound on South Chantilly Road, south of Ethington Road in Lincoln County, when she lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree around 4:15 a.m.1
The Victims and the Survivor
The three victims who died at the scene were identified as William Flickinger, 18, from Troy, Kaeden Tyler, 15, from Winfield, and Emily McNees, 17, from Hawk Point. They were all passengers in Zenk’s car. The survivor, Trevor Smith, 20, from Troy, was also a passenger and was airlifted to St. Louis Mercy Hospital with serious injuries. Family and friends confirmed these identities with 5 On Your Side1.
The victims were all students at Lincoln County high schools. Flickinger and McNees were seniors at Troy Buchanan High School, while Tyler was a freshman at Winfield High School. Zenk was a junior at New Auburn High School2.
The Aftermath and the Reaction
The crash shocked and saddened the community, as many people gathered at the site of the accident to pay their respects and honor the memories of the deceased. Some of them performed burnouts in tribute to their loved ones1. A candlelight vigil was also held at Troy Buchanan High School on Sunday night3.
The families and friends of the victims expressed their grief and anger over the tragedy. Jordan Reichert, Tyler’s aunt, said that he was an amazing kid who loved fishing, hunting, and being outdoors. She said that he was his family’s protector and gave the best hugs1. Ryan Recsnik, a friend and former classmate of Flickinger and McNees, said that he was still in disbelief that he would never see them again. He said that Flickinger was his best friend and McNees was his former co-worker1.
The Charges and the Trial
Zenk was arrested and charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree, one count of assault in the second degree, and one count of driving while intoxicated resulting in death or injury. She is currently being held at the Lincoln County Jail on a $500,000 bond3.
Zenk’s trial is scheduled to begin on September 25, 2023 at the Lincoln County Circuit Court. She faces up to 25 years in prison for each count of involuntary manslaughter, up to seven years for assault, and up to four years for DWI3.
Zenk’s attorney, David Brown, said that he plans to argue that Zenk was not intoxicated at the time of the crash and that there were other factors that contributed to the accident. He said that he will present evidence that Zenk had a medical condition that affected her ability to drive safely4.
Zenk’s case has sparked a lot of controversy and debate on social media platforms such as TikTok. Some users have posted videos criticizing Zenk for her actions and calling for justice for the victims. Others have posted videos defending Zenk and asking for compassion and forgiveness for her. One user, Laina.shailynn, posted a video celebrating Zenk’s arrest with the caption “WE DID IT! @matty @Ashley Zenk” and used the hashtag #haileygracezenk4.