EXCLUSIVE: Family of veteran killed in weekend crash reflects

10 months 13 hours 22 minutes ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 9:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
By: Evan Dodson, KOMU 8 Digital Producer and Kasia Kerridge, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

BOONVILLE - The uncle of the Columbia native who died in a car crash late Saturday night described his nephew as "the light" of his family's life Monday.

Andrew Helmreich, 28, was a veteran of the U.S. Army. His uncle, John Graves, said Helmreich served in the Army for five years.

"He's the type of person you hear about when they come in the room, it lights up, everybody smiles," Graves said.

Helmreich was one of two passengers in a deadly Columbia car crash Saturday night. Prosecutors say William Lalka was driving while intoxicated when the crash happened. Prosecutors charged Lalka Monday.

He served in Afghanistan from February 2014 until November of that year, according to Graves. Helmreich received a number of awards during his time in the military including Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star and NATO Medal. He was honorably discharged in 2017.

Helmreich was born and raised in Columbia. He graduated from Hickman High School in 2009, and he was set to graduate this December from Columbia College with a degree in business management.

Graves described Helmreich as very religious, passionate and the life of the party. 

His sister, Lauren, said that they just recently became close this year. She said that when their mother died in 2010, her brother was the strongest one in the family. 

"He was the rock," said Lauren. 

Graves said Helmreich's family has received amazing support from Columbia College. They want to start a scholarship fund for a student veteran in his nephew's name.

A funeral service will be held for Helmreich Saturday at 10 a.m. at Columbia United Church of Christ.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police and the U.S. Marshals Service have found and taken into custody two people... More >>
31 minutes ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:22:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A scare over a recent Facebook threat has a neighborhood rethinking the safety of their children. ... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 3:43:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Forty-five cats, two birds, and three dogs are currently being housed at the Central Humane Society after a... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 3:36:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
FULTON – Students at Westminster College are getting some high tech help from the school: free iPads and Apple Pencils.... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:48:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- People in Boone and Callaway Counties have been receiving calls from people saying they need to pay money for... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:31:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A tweet with video showing what appears to someone throwing something at a downtown church prompted police to... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:18:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Gov. Mike Parson tweeted about a big campaign announcement on his personal Twitter account Friday. ... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 1:19:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri’s top election official is firing back after abortion-rights advocates sued him for allegedly impeding... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 10:47:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Prosecutor's Office added new charges to the case of a man accused of stabbing... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:49:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Animal control officers, helped by Columbia police, removed dozens of animals from a home on August 21. ... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:06:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Pride is coming to Rose Music Hall Saturday. The free event kicks off at 1 p.m. with... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 4:30:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is encouraging at-risk people to get vaccinated for hepatitis A... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:20:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Three months ago today, Jefferson City was hit by a tornado that ran from 54 Highway and... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:46:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - An incident at a Columbia Walmart Thursday afternoon that left shoppers fearing an active threat turned out to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:05:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Abortion-rights advocates on Thursday sued Missouri's top election official, alleging his actions and state laws denied them... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 4:02:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU is offering grief counseling to any student, faculty or staff member after a student died on Wednesday.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 3:31:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri and several other states across the country are combating a shortage of veterinarians who are qualified to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 2:30:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - After 10 years of MU enrollment hitting historic highs to major drops, downtown businesses have learned to adapt.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 1:41:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 78°
8pm 75°
9pm 73°
10pm 72°
11pm 71°