Missouri Man Gets 14 Years for Vehicular Manslaughter

A 34-year-old Missouri man will spend 14 years in prison in connection with a car accident that killed his young son and injured four other victims. The man was recently sentenced in connection with the car accident. He had pleaded guilty to several charges, including involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault. The man received a total of 21 years’ prison time, but two of the sentences will be served concurrently, lowering the total to 14 years.

Official reports show that the vehicular manslaughter incident occurred in November 2012, when the man’s 3-year-old son died in a wreck between Ozark and Nixa. The child was riding in the back seat of the vehicle, while his mother was a passenger in the front seat of the car. Authorities say the at-fault driver’s vehicle traversed the center line and struck an oncoming SUV. Another car then struck the SUV after the initial collision. The toddler was killed and four other people were injured in the crash; the man who was sentenced, though, remained unharmed.

Even though the man was not charged with a separate drunk driving count in connection with the case, officers at the scene reported noticing that the man smelled strongly of alcohol and was exhibiting signs of intoxication. The man told the officer that he had simply consumed two beers at lunch. Later analysis showed that the man’s blood alcohol content about a half-hour after the crash registered at 0.102 percent, which is significantly higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Charges that were dismissed because of the plea agreement included misdemeanor third-degree assault charges and at least one outstanding traffic violation. In this case, the Missouri defendant chose to plead guilty to the charges, allowing his attorneys to negotiate with prosecutors for a more favorable sentence. Although guilty pleas are useful in some cases, they are not always appropriate. Criminal defendants should discuss their plea options with their qualified criminal defense attorneys before making such a major decision.

Source: News-Leader.com, “Father sentenced to prison for crash that killed toddler” No author given, Jan. 06, 2014

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