A 27-year-old Missouri man is facing a criminal trial after he was allegedly involved in a June car accident that killed two people. The man is facing vehicular assault charges in connection with the incident in addition to accusations of involuntary manslaughter. The defendant was reportedly driving drunk at the time of the accident. The charges had initially been classified as Class C felonies, but the severity of the allegations was increased in mid-November. The charges are now Class B felonies.
Prosecutors say that the changes came about because two people were killed in the accident. Legal precedent allows amended filings in such cases and potentially increased prison terms. The man would have faced just a seven-year term under the Class C regulations. Now, he could be subject to 15 years’ time in prison if convicted.
Authorities report that the June accident occurred when the defendant lost control of his car while driving around a curve. Estimates show that he may have been traveling twice as fast as the 35 mph speed limit in the area. Two victims in their mid-twenties were killed when they were ejected from the vehicle. The car reportedly rolled three times. Another victim, age 24, survived the single-car crash, possibly because he was wearing his seatbelt. That man suffered moderate injuries in the collision.
Officials were able to obtain a warrant to collect a blood sample from the driver, who initially refused to provide a breath sample. He was unable to perform a field sobriety test at the time of the crash, though news reports do not indicate whether he was too injured to do so.
Defendants in such criminal cases should know that an arrest for drunk driving – or even for manslaughter – does not mean that they will be considered guilty. Criminal defense attorneys can help these individuals learn more about their courtroom rights, which will allow them to make the most prudent legal decisions in light of their individual concerns.
Source: www.joblinglobe.com, “Webb City man to stand trial in fatal car crash” No author given, Nov. 13, 2013