Liberty mom wakes from heart surgery to find out husband, son killed

LIBERTY, Mo. - A deadly crash in Camdenton, Mo., is yet another tragedy for a struggling Liberty family.

Jeff King, 40, was considered his family's right-hand man.

"He was just one of those guys you could call on, and he'd be there," King's niece Alexa Rooney said.

It was no different this past weekend when King was near the Lake of the Ozarks, working on his mother's house.

But early Sunday morning, King started having some health complications. His stepfather Terry Lawson, 60, rushed him to the hospital.

Just after 4:10 a.m., Lawson's truck veered into the wrong lane, over-corrected, swerved off the road, hit a tree and landed upside down.  Both died at the scene.

Already at the hospital was King's mother and Lawson's wife, Diane.

The day before the crash, Diane had her third open heart surgery.  She woke up Sunday morning to the news that her husband and son would not be there to help her through the recovery.

"To wake up and find out your husband and son have been killed, I can't imagine that," said Rebecca Rooney, who is Jeff King's sister-in-law.  "You're still trying to recover from heart surgery and plan a funeral."

At King's home in Liberty, his wife Michelle and their three kids struggle with the loss.

"He's not going to be there to see her graduate. He's not going to be there to walk her down the aisle," Rooney said.

And he's not going to be there to financially provide for his family. 

"He was the bread winner. She was the stay-at-home mom," Rebecca said.

Making things even harder is the fact that King had no life insurance. With no other income, his family is left with very little.

"She will lose everything," Rebecca said.  "She's already lost enough."

To help Michelle and the three kids, the family has set up the Jeff King Memorial Fund.  Donations can be made at any Capital Federal Bank.

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