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'Do it for Christian': Loved ones push for safety measures after fatal crash on Jefferson Road in Grain Valley

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Posted at 5:38 PM, May 06, 2024

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Grain Valley community is asking for better safety measures after losing 20-year-old Christian Lanear in a fatal car accident.

It happened on Jefferson Road near Pamela last Wednesday evening.

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“It hurts, you know; I miss my baby," Jessica Briggs, Lanear's mother, said. "And I would give anything to get him back."

Briggs is figuring out how to live life after her son’s death. She says he never met a stranger and had so many talents.

He was involved in football, track and field, show choir, speech and debate team, the school’s broadcast news, and dreamed of becoming a journalist.

“I would hate for any other family to go through what our family and community is going through right now with the loss of Christian,” Briggs said. “I feel as though this accident was preventable; Christian could still be here with us if this road were safer to travel on."

According to data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Lanear’s death marks the fourth “Fatal/Personal Injury” crash on Jefferson Road since January 2023.

This does not include numerous of there crashes leading to property damage.

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“You have an option to go on I-70, or you have an option to over-correct,” Andrea Elliott, a family friend, said.

Elliott’s son, Cole Elliott, was Lanear’s best friend. Their moms say the two were inseparable.

Elliott has now made it her mission to help the family bring about change, starting with a petition for safety measures.

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William Lanear, Christian Lanear's brother, created the petition online, and since launching, it has generated over 7,000 signatures.

“We need to widen this road; we need to have guard rails," Andrea Elliot said. "Would the guard rails have changed things? Probably not in this case, but it will help."

Grain Valley Mayor Mike Todd says Jefferson Road has been in place for decades.

Much of the surrounding area was farmland, but as it started to develop, the city expressed to the Missouri Department of Transportation that improvements are needed.

Todd told KSHB 41 that he is not sure why those improvements have not come and if anything is underway.

KHSB 41 reached out to MoDOT asking if there were any improvement projects in the works and received this response:

“MoDOT doesn’t have any information on this crash. All crash reports are made available to MoDOT once the responding police agency completes it, however we haven’t received this yet. MoDOT doesn’t have sufficient information to comment on the situation.”

Briggs feels the lack of response communicates a lack of care of understanding.

But if community complaints have not been enough to bring about change, then they will turn to community action.

“Our understanding is we need to get at least 10,000 signatures," Briggs said. “Just do it for Christian, sign for Christian.”

For more information on the petition and and way to get involved, head to think link on change.org.