JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri state Rep. Rebecca Roeber, who was seriously injured in a vehicle crash earlier this year, died Tuesday while on a vacation that had been intended to celebrate her recovery, her husband said.
Roeber died in her sleep while vacationing with her extended family in Estes Park, Colorado, said her husband Rick Roeber. He said the cause of death was unknown. It was unclear if it was related to her previous injuries from the vehicle crash. Roeber was 61 years old.
The Republican lawmaker from the Kansas City suburb of Lee’s Summit suffered 18 broken bones in a March 25 crash when the Subaru she was driving crossed the center line of U.S. 50 in Morgan County and collided with an oncoming vehicle. Roeber was hospitalized in critical condition after the crash and later received treatment at a rehabilitation facility.
She posted on Facebook last month that the crash was the result of undiagnosed sleep apnea and that she planned to seek re-election in 2020. Roeber had recently been released from her rehabilitation and had been strengthened by “her belief that the Lord Jesus Christ had her in his care all this while,” her husband said.
“This was kind of a victory lap. We were all going to come out here and celebrate our time,” Roeber said.
“Apparently this was meant for her to be out here amongst her family and to pass out here in the midst of the beauty of Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains, a place that she loved,” he said.
Roeber taught English in the Raytown School District for 17 years. She first won election to the Missouri House in November 2014.
House Speaker Elijah Haahr shared news of her death with House colleagues.
“As a former teacher and then as a member of the House, Rebecca had a passion to see our children learn and develop the tools to succeed in life,” Haahr said in a written statement. “She will forever be remembered for being a champion for Missouri’s students.”