A car plowed through the wall of an elementary school cafeteria during lunch Monday, killing an 8-year-old boy and injuring two other students and the 84-year-old driver, police in this St. Louis suburb said.

Ryan Wesling died of head and chest injuries about an hour after the woman's car slammed into Shiloh Elementary School, St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said.

Most of the 70 students having lunch were outside for recess when the car hit the cafeteria wall, drove through the room and came to rest at the opposite wall, Police Chief Jim Stover said.

Two students were taken to the hospital and released in late afternoon, police said. The driver remained hospitalized, but her condition and identity weren't released.

Authorities were investigating the cause, Stover said. He waved off questions about whether the woman may have had a medical condition.

Shiloh schools Superintendent Jennifer Filyaw said she was in her office, which adjoins the cafeteria, when she heard the crash.

"You couldn't mistake the noise," she said. "I knew instantly something major had happened."

Ryan Wesling "was a joy to have in our school, and will be greatly missed," she said.

The cafeteria is at the rear of the 320-student school. The street nearest the cafeteria ends with a turnaround.

School remained in session Monday after the accident, though some parents took their children home early. The school planned to begin Tuesday with grief counseling for Ryan's classmates.