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Wife was driving

BONNE TERRE — Bonne Terre police are still piecing together information about an accident that occurred early New Year’s Day in which State Rep. Brad Robinson’s truck struck a pedestrian.

Brad Robinson now tells media that his wife, Tara, was driving the truck at the time.

Police Chief Doug Calvert said the Missouri State Highway Patrol declined a request to take over the investigation.

As a result, Bonne Terre Sgt. Bill Stegall was assigned the case Thursday and will be reinterviewing the woman who made the 911 call, the occupants of Brad Robinson’s truck and ambulance workers.

Police interviewed the victim, Donald Marler, Thursday morning. The victim was described as “banged up” but in fair condition.

They hope to wrap up the accident investigation Saturday and turn over the report to Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn by Monday.

Calvert added he has no reason to believe anything criminal has occurred but his policy is to have the prosecutor review reports involving a serious injury. If it is determined charges will be filed, Horn will be referring the case to a special prosecuting attorney.

Calvert said his officers initially thought the injured man found on Raider Road had been a victim of an assault or a fight. He said the incident has turned out to be a traffic accident and they are investigating it to make sure it was an accident and there was nothing criminal about it. He said if they had known from the beginning it was a traffic accident, the department would have let the Missouri State Highway Patrol handle it.

He said his department was contacted by Sheriff Dan Bullock the morning of the accident.

Bullock told the Daily Journal that Brad Robinson called him and told him his truck had been involved in an accident and asked the sheriff to come to the scene.

Bullock said by the time he got into town, the ambulance was gone and the Robinsons left and went home. He said he went to the Robinsons’ home where they told him what had happened.

Bullock said he was told that the Robinsons’ truck hit something and they didn’t know what it was so they went back and found the injured man. He was told Tara Robinson and another person tended to the man while an ambulance was already on its way.

He said they were visibly upset and shaken and asked him what to do. He told them to call police and Brad Robinson asked him to do that for him. The sheriff contacted Lt. Chris Thurman who spoke with the Robinsons at their home.

Bullock said as far as he knows, Brad Robinson didn’t try to hide or cover anything up. He said Brad Robinson parked the truck in front of the house where anyone could see. A rearview mirror was also left behind at the scene.

Calvert said his officers saw Tara Robinson and another lady helping the ambulance crew but the officers do not recall seeing Brad Robinson or his truck.

He said Lt. Thurman went to Robinsons’ home where he was told they hit something but they didn’t know what they had hit.

On Wednesday, Brad Robinson told the Daily Journal, “My truck was involved in an unfortunate traffic accident.” He further said a police report had been taken and he wished the victim a speedy and full recovery. Since then, he could not be reached for comment.

On Thursday, the state representative reportedly told Channel 5, “I am a decent human being … I would never leave the scene of an accident.” He told them his wife got out and helped the man until the ambulance arrived.

Brad Robinson also spoke on KFMO Friday morning as part of his weekly legislative report. He said his wife was operating the vehicle and they have nothing to hide. He asked people to hold judgment until the police’s accident report comes out. He said anyone who thinks he or his wife would leave the scene of an accident doesn’t know their character. He said a procedure by police has to be followed and the truth will prevail.

Calvert said he has never called or classified the incident as “a hit and run.” He said it is still early on in the investigation and they have several questions.

Robinson, a Democrat, has been a state representative for District 107 since 2004. Prior to that he served on the North County School Board, on the Pilot Knob City Council and as an Iron County Commissioner.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at tressel@dailyjournalonline.com.

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