Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Joe Schuengel was killed Friday doing what his ex-wife said was his true life's work.
The Highway Patrol helicopter Schuengel was piloting crashed on a side street in a Clarkson Valley subdivision just after 11 a.m.
"The Highway Patrol was his life," said Pat Difani, 48, of south St. Louis County, whose nine-year marriage to Schuengel ended in 1998. "He absolutely loved it, and he loved the people that he worked with. They were family to him."
Schuengel, 47, of west St. Louis County, was the only person in the Bell 206B JetRanger that crashed in the Kehrs Mills Trails subdivision. It plunged onto Horseshoe Ridge Road off Kehrs Mill Road, just missing nearby houses. No one on the ground was injured.
Schuengel, a 17-year veteran of the patrol, had been on a speed enforcement detail earlier in Jefferson County.
Two other state troopers had been with h
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