Judge Denies Higher Bond in Deadly Crash

By March 30, 2008Traffic Safety

The Kansas City Missouri driver involved in a deadly crash on Interstate 70 near Columbia Missouri while reportedly being under the influence of marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs at the time of a deadly wreck did not have his bail increased. The driver of the pickup truck was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance in the wreck that killed Charles D. Fulhage, of Rocheport Missouri..
Downs’ bond was set at $11,000 when he was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault, driving while intoxicated and operating a vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner causing an accident. After Fulhage died Prosecutors upped the charges to include first-degree involuntary manslaughter, punishable by as much as 15 years in prison. The Boone County Assistant Prosecutor requested the increased bond because of the charges had been in increased to first degree involuntary manslaughter.
The driver had a previous drunken driving offense and was to have installed an ignition interlock device in his truck but had failed to do so. He had been order to use the interlock device for30 days. The interlock device, which tests a driver’s breath for alcohol before allowing the vehicle to start, does not detect intoxicants other than alcohol.
Part of Downs conditions to be released on bond was that he no longer drive, that he undergo a review for home detention and that he wear an electronic “sobrieter,” which tests a defendant’s blood-alcohol content.
The accident occurred near the 122-mile marker of I-70, just west of Sorrels Overpass on the west side of Columbia. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said a westbound Dodge pickup driven by Downs struck the rear of a Ford Ranger pickup driven by Fulhage. The Ranger ran off the right side of the highway and overturned on an embankment. Fulhage, who was wearing a seat belt, needed to be extricated from the wreckage by Boone County firefighters. Witnesses told authorities that Downs had been speeding and making abrupt lane changes on the highway before the wreck, according to court documents
The Missouri Highway Patrol noted that Downs had appeared intoxicated, and they found a prescription pill identified as a generic form of Valium in Downs’ pickup. Fulhage was an MU Extension waste management specialist and professor in the University of Missouri’s Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering.
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