Kansas City, Mo. 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.