Archive for Thursday, November 24, 2005

Drunken driver benefits from mistake

Car sold in error; without evidence, lengthy sentence avoided

November 24, 2005


— A drunken driver tied to the deaths of two pedestrians after parts from his damaged car were found near their bodies avoided a lengthy prison term because the city tow lot sold the vehicle for scrap.

Scott A. Weber, 25, of Independence, was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days of prison substance abuse treatment and three years of probation.

Weber pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, drunken driving and leaving the scene of the September 2004 crash.

Prosecutors agreed to the plea deal after learning Weber's Ford Tempo had been sold to a salvager at an auction and destroyed. Police say someone from the city's tow lot authorized the sale. The mistake went unnoticed for several months.

Weber, who had a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated, told police he did not remember leaving a friend's house the night Roxanne M. Bradshaw, 47, and Juan G. Avila, 32, were killed. Before departing, he had consumed a half-pint of bourbon and taken a muscle relaxer.

Debra Colyer, Bradshaw's sister, called the punishment outrageous.

"He killed two people and gets 120 days in jail," said Colyer. "He spends four months in rehab, and my sister's gone forever. ... Where's the justice?"

Liberty police said Weber was "incoherent and confused" and his vehicle badly damaged when he was stopped as he entered the city the night of the crash.

His blood-alcohol content measured 0.11, above the legal limit in Missouri of 0.08.

According to court records, blood, hair and flesh found on the car was matched to the DNA of the victims. Also, authorities determined a car antenna, a Ford emblem and head light lens found at the accident scene matched the car.

But defense attorney James LaSalle had sought to exclude all evidence that came from the vehicle after learning it had been destroyed.

Assistant prosecutor Teresa Moore said the car was critical to the case because no witnesses could identify Weber as the driver. Witnesses also said the car was red; Weber's was tan.

The director of the city tow lot at the time of the mistake, Clay Ancell, resigned in January after he was arrested in a city-owned vehicle for allegedly driving while drunk on a suspended license.


Ragingbear 12 years, 6 months ago

Of all the incompetent... I bet he had a friend on the inside. I also hope that the family of the victims sue the crap out of the city, and look into criminal charges of tampering with evidence.

Alison Smith 12 years, 6 months ago

What a pathetic mess... people's lives have been smashed by booze bottles.

Two out-of-control drunks are back on the street because one of them happened to hiccup on the job. This case looks to have been a sad but done (and sobering) deal...

Whoever signed the car into the lot and whoever signed it out for scrap should be taking on more than anonymous fault... and... I understand the car was important but if the DNA tests were complete, why was it critical? Mr. Weber is hardly OJ.

Amandak 12 years, 6 months ago

I agree with 8muddyboots. You have the victims' DNA evidence on the vehicle; the same vehicle the crapbag suspect was driving when stopped by the police. Did this dirtbag implicate someone else as the hit and run driver? If so, who? I'm sure a thorough police investigation was conducted and the DA was given a complete report. Sounds to me like the victims' family needs to put some serious pressure on the DA's office, since it sounds they did not have the fortitude to press for a conviction in front of a judge or jury. Unfortunately, the business of prosecuting cases has become just that, a business. Prosecutors have sacrificed effectiveness, for a warped perception of efficiency. A plea is a mark in their favor, without having to "risk" going to trial, where they could loose. However, this case needed to see a courtroom. I've seen people do more time on a misdemeanor battery charge. This is a travesty and the local DA's office is a joke! Just from reading this article, I see "probable cause" to believe this drunk was, in fact, the hit-and-run driver. Why can't the DA? I feel for the families, as this dirtbag has just been given a slap on the wrist for killing two people. He'll be slamming bourbon on probation!

newssleuth2814 12 years, 6 months ago

It's pitiful how repeat offenders are allowed to walk after showing they' re not responsible to have learned their lessons the first time.

This story shows how one drunk driver was given an opportunity to move on from his first DUI and failed, which resulted in two deaths.

If Kansas, Missouri and other states are serious about cracking down on repeat DUI offenders, then I think offenders should have their license taken away from them for a long period of time ranging from 5 to 10 years after their first offense. If they are caught driving in that amount of time, their license should be revoked for good. If they are caught afterward, they should have to serve a long time in jail to really think about how they screwed up.

Let's stop coddling these offenders. They're a risk to everyone and don't deserve as many chances as we currently give them, especially when we're talking about the deaths of innocent people as a result of these offenders' negligence.

We owe it to the victims to ensure these mistakes aren't repeated. Can anyone tell me what we owe repeat offenders?

As far as I'm concerned, it's nothing.

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