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O'Neil Family Shares Their Story One Year Later

Updated: Thursday, August 21 2014, 04:10 PM CDT
CASS COUNTY --

One year after an accident in Cass County took the lives of both of their children, Joe and Holly O'Neil are sharing their story.

August 17th, 2013...A date, that changed the O'Neil family forever.

Despite the heartache, Joe and Holly O'Neil are remembering their children and how they affected an entire community.

17-year-old Peyton O'Neil was driving home from a golf outing, his little sister 15-year-old Zoe in the car with him. Their parents were in a separate car behind them.

"It was just an accident, he didn't see the traffic stopped in front of him and it spun his car into on coming traffic. Our son Peyton was 17 and he was killed instantly. And our daughter Zoe was life flighted to Springfield and she died at 6:42," said Holly O'Neil.

An unthinkable tragedy that the O'Neils have been grappling with for a year. 


It hasn't been easy, but Holly remembers the lessons she taught her kids and that's helped her and Joe keep living.

"I always told my kids that your true character shines through in the face of adversity. And I feel like if I didn't live up to that I would be letting them down. I've drawn my strength from what I've tried to teach them, and who I'd hoped they'd become and so I feel like we're trying to live on for them," said O'Neil.

The O'Neils hope others can learn to treasure life a little more and make sure to appreciate your loved ones while they're here.

"I'm fortunate that I can say I live with very little regret in the parent I was or in the children I raised. They were amazing people and they couldn't have doubted how much Joe and I loved them. We had a rule in our house that you couldn't leave without a hug and a kiss every time and 'I love you'  because you just don't know when it's going to be the last time. And I'm so thankful for that," said O'Neil.

A memorial is being held tomorrow night to honor Zoe and Peyton.

'Light Up The Night' was started on Facebook by someone who didn't even know the O'Neils, but was touched by their story

All of those participating turn on their porch lights in remembrance of the siblings.

O'Neil Family Shares Their Story One Year Later
O'Neil Family Shares Their Story One Year Later


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