Driver accused of felony offenses after police chase, fatal crash

A Missouri man is facing murder charges after he allegedly killed his girlfriend in a car accident as he was evading police. Authorities report that the 31-year-old woman died in the wreck in Raytown, Missouri, as she was riding as a passenger in her partner's vehicle. The defendant will have to mount a felony defense against charges of murder, though an alternate charge is also being considered: involuntary manslaughter due to a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

Authorities say that the collision threw the woman from the vehicle. The couple's infant son was also ejected from the car, though he did not suffer life-threatening injuries. The crash occurred after the man was seen speeding by a local police officer. That officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but he abandoned the effort after realizing that a dangerous high-speed chase could ensue.

The officer came upon the wreck just minutes after it occurred. The car reportedly plunged off of the road, smashing through a guardrail and rolling multiple times. Witnesses said that the defendant's vehicle went airborne, flying over a hill. The violent collision left a significant amount of trash and debris over neighbors' properties.

Although officers say they called off the chase in order to avoid injury, at least one witness is saying that the police may have actually prompted the collision by continuing to pursue the defendant. Perhaps the defendant had a reason to flee -- he had a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the incident. The crime: failing to stop for police.

Although the defendant in this case is facing serious criminal charges, he should not automatically be considered guilty. However, his criminal defense for the felonies may be different from many other defendants'. That is because he is being charged as a persistent offender because of his criminal record, which has two other felony convictions already. Offenders with such an extensive history may need a different approach in the criminal courtroom.

Source: KCTV 5 News, "Man charged with murder in fatal vehicle crash while fleeing police" Chris Oberholtz, Nathan Vickers and Betsy Webster, Jun. 09, 2014

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