Tragedy Befalls SLU Graduate Nursing Student

A St.Charles County mother was on her way to work an extra shift at SLU Hospital when she was killed in a car accident on Nov. 24, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Thirty-one-year-old nurse Sara Shepard was picking up extra shifts at work before Christmas in order to afford presents for her children when the accident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. As Shepard was driving eastbound on MO-364, a man in a pickup truck hit Shepard’s sedan. The two cars struck the guardrails as they were pushed off the road—the pickup truck was overturned.

The two passengers in the truck, a 39-year-old man and 32-year-old female were transported to the nearest hospital, and seemed to have sustained minor injuries, according to Fox 2 St. Louis. However, the reason for the accident is still being investigated.

Shepard’s family, still grieving the loss of their beloved sister, daughter and granddaughter, can only put on a brave face for her children.

Shepard’s brother, Dave Hill, told Fox 2 that “right now it’s all about them,” and that “they are the ones who are suffering the most out of all of this.”

“Sara had already picked out a Christmas list for the children,” Becca Hill, Shepard’s sister-in-law, said to Fox. “Her whole life was her kids, everything she did was for her kids.” Shepard’s children are currently in the custody of their father.

To add to their devastation, just seven months before the accident, Sara and Dave’s brother, James, also died.

“We’ve learned a lot about grief through this whole process,” Becca Hill said.

In a statement to the press, the SLU Hospital Communications team stated that “our hearts are broken to hear of the sudden passing of Sara Shepard,” and that Shepard was the embodiment of a nurse: “talented, knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated.” According to her obituary at Hutchens Funeral Homes, “Sara fiercely loved her family, going to concerts and sporting events.” Shepard also devoted time and care into helping two of her cousins, Timmy and Michael, who struggle with Huntington’s Disease. It also stated that Shepard was pursuing her master’s degree in adult acute care nurse practitioner in order to specialize in neurology.

“Sara will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time,” said SLU Hospital to the community.

Vice President for Student Development Dr. Kent Porterfield sent out an email reminder to all SLU students that counseling services are available:

  • All students can visit the University Counseling Center (UCC) on the second floor of Wuller Hall. A trained and licensed staff therapist is also available 24/7 by calling 314-977-TALK (8255).
  • Faculty and staff can arrange professional counseling through SLU’s Employee Assistance Program by calling 800-859-9319.
  • The Eckelkamp Center for Campus Ministry, located in the first floor of Wuller Hall, can be reached at 314-977-2425.
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To donate to Sara Shepard’s family and help her children, please visit