Mother wants justice after crash kills daughter

Local News
Rev Steve Heather KOLR

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — A Bolivar teenager charged with two felonies for a car crash that killed an 11-year-old girl, is expected to be sentenced in a Greene County courtroom Wednesday morning, May 26. The mother of the victim, Clorissa Tilden, said she fears a plea agreement will be made, which she said does not feel is justice for her daughter.

The crash happened on May 13, 2019. Tilden said her daughter Izabella Lightner had just finished softball practice. Tilden and her two daughters, Izabella and Ash, were traveling to Niangua on Highway 65 in Springfield when they were hit from behind.

“When you get rear-ended at 81 (mph) and I’m doing 58 (mph), that is a huge impact,” Tilden said. “And to be trapped in the car with the guardrail in your daughter’s body.”

Court documents show Mikaila Koch was speeding on Highway 65 when she hit the car in front of her. The impact caused Tilden’s car to go off the roadway and hit a guardrail near Division Street. It killed 11-year-old Izabella.

“There were three victims in that car,” Tilden said. “Izabella, Ash, and I. Izabella paid with her life and Ash and I suffer with this every single day for the duration of our lives. That is not justice. That is not fair.”

Koch was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault. She was 17 years old at the time. According to court documents, Koch told officers she was distracted, looking in bags in the passenger seat.

A lawsuit was filed against The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) but was dropped after the guardrail was inspected. It was deemed properly installed and up-to-code. Tilden’s car, she said, was also inspected and no malfunctions were found.

A disposition for the case is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26.

“I want those felonies to stick, so that it ruins her life just a tiny bit,” Tilden said.

KOLR 10 reached out to Koch’s attorney, who could not comment on the case until after court proceedings.

This is a developing story.

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