The bereaved sister and fiancé of a man who died in a fiery car crash Saturday near Collinsville visited the site three days later and found body parts at the scene, including a piece of a skull and hands.
“I just kind of melted down and that’s when I picked up his hands,” said Karissa McPherson, sister of Jared McPherson, who died Saturday in a crash on northbound Interstate 255 near Collinsville Road.
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Karissa McPherson was with her brother’s fiancé, Candice Amizich, when they went to the crash site on Tuesday afternoon.
“I wanted to go to the last place my brother was,” McPherson said.
There she said was evidence of the fire and lots of car parts at the scene. She said she found pieces of her brother’s pants, and then Amizich, a phlebotomist by trade, found the top of a skull.
Karissa McPherson said she began to go into shock, then picked up a hand.
“I just lost it,” she said.
Jared McPherson, 25, was with a co-worker, Brian Lee Hubbs, 37, of Alton, on their way from a painting job in Waterloo to McPherson’s Bethalto home sometime after 4 p.m. Saturday when their truck left the road and struck a tree and caught on fire. Both men were killed.
Amizich said she and Karissa McPherson went to the scene to look for Jared McPherson’s knife when they found the body parts. So they buried the hands and skull, and marked it with car parts.
“We didn’t know what to do and we didn’t want to leave him there. So we gave it a proper burial,”Amizich said. “We are heart-broken that we had to deal with this on top of everything else. They treated him like a dead animal on the side of the road. They disrespected him and his dignity.”
Amizich said the scene looked like no one cared to clean it up for the family to come in the future to lay flowers or a cross. “They just left it as is,” she said.
McPherson said she went home and told Mike McPherson, Jared and Karissa’s father. The body parts were retrieved from the accident site Wednesday morning so they could be cremated with the rest of the body, Mike McPherson said.
He called St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Tom Boyd and demanded answers.
“I am so angry,” Mike McPherson said. “If two girls could go up there and find that, why couldn’t they? The coroner is the one responsible for the scene until they took that crime scene tape down. I feel like heads should roll for this.”
St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said the bodies sustained third- and fourth-degree burns, then were hit with high-pressure hoses used to extinguish the fire before they were extricated from the truck.
“The condition of these bodies would have made it difficult to tell if something was missing,” Stone said.
The bodies were in such disarray that as they were being extricated, two firefighters became overcome with illness and emotion.
“Obviously, we want to take care of the bodies,” Stone said. “There was a lot of debris and this was overlooked by everyone.”
Mike McPherson said he wants to bury his son on Friday, but he is furious about the way his son’s body was handled.
“I want to get through Friday, but then I want to know how this could happen,” he said.
Stone responded: “I feel for the family. Truly, my heart does go out to them. Obviously, we wouldn’t have wanted to miss anything.”