A single-vehicle car accident just south of downtown St. Joseph early this morning turned into a criminal investigation when the driver of the only car involved fled the scene. The situation shows how important it is to stay on the scene of a car accident.
Car Crashes Into Utility Pole and House
The incident happened early in the morning of Friday, December 23, 2016, in St. Joseph, Missouri. The driver of a Ford Expedition sport utility vehicle was going northbound on South 22nd Street just before 1:30 in the morning. At the 3400 block – between Excello Drive and Empire Lane – he drove off the side of the road, hit a utility pole and drove into a house.
There was one person in the house when the Expedition hit, but there were no injuries reported in the car accident. The driver of the SUV, however, fled the scene on foot. Police are investigating, and are reported to be searching for a white male.
22nd Street was closed between Excello and Empire while crews worked to repair the damaged utility pole. Despite the damage to the pole, no one in the area lost electricity in the crash.
Driver Likely to Face Felony Charges for Hit-and-Run Accident
By fleeing the scene of the crash, the driver is likely to face a felony charge for hit-and-run.
Missouri law makes it illegal to leave the scene of a car accident, if that crash results in someone getting hurt or someone else’s property getting damaged. The punishment for committing the crime of hit-and-run can be severe. If no one was hurt in the car accident and the property damage was less than $1,000, then the charge would be a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry up to one year in jail. However, if someone was hurt or there was more than $1,000 in property damage in the crash, then leaving the scene of the accident becomes a Class E felony, which can result in up to four years behind bars. If you have already been convicted for hit-and-run in the past, then leaving the scene of any accident becomes a Class E felony.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Car accidents can frequently turn into criminal investigations. Leaving the scene of a car accident is just one of the ways for this to happen. Unfortunately, this only makes a bad situation even worse. Leaving the scene of a car accident often makes it appear that you were the one who caused it. This can make it difficult to show that you were not the cause of the crash, and can lead to criminal charges that carry significant repercussions.
The car accident and personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph fight to protect your interests and rights after a car accident. Staying on the scene of a crash, however, can greatly improve your prospects. Contact us online or call our law office at (816) 875-9373.