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Leadwood man charged with involuntary manslaughter

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A Leadwood man has been charged with one count of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault stemming from a motor vehicle crash that occurred on June 20.

Frank Lester Ancona, 23, was charged after a St. Francois County Grand Jury returned the indictment and a warrant for his arrest was issued on Jan. 7.

According to the police report filed by the Farmington Police Department, at about 1:30 a.m. on June 20, 2015, a police officer was responding to an alarm call at Midwest Sports Center on Walker Drive when his attention was drawn to a white 2014 Ford Mustang sitting sideways on West Columbia Street near Dewey Drive in Farmington.

The report states the officer observed a white male laying in the grass near the car who was identified as Anthony M. Crabdree, 33, of Farmington.

While checking on Crabdree, the officer noticed another car, also a white Ford Mustang, about 20 yards off the roadway among some large bushes.

The car, a 2006 white Ford Mustang, had three occupants. The driver was Ancona. Stanley W. Stricklin, Jr., 23, of Mineral Point, was in the front seat and Nicholas P. Melton, 22, also of Mineral Point, was in the back seat.

The officer reported a strong odor of intoxicants coming from the car. The officer observed Stricklin as semi-responsive with a laceration to his head. Melton was unresponsive, laying on his side in the back seat.

According to the report, the officer gave Ancona a field sobriety test at the scene after observing that his speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy and his breath smelled of intoxicants.

The report states Ancona was traveling west on Columbia Street when, according to him, an unknown vehicle in front of the 2006 Mustang slammed on its brakes. According to the report, Ancona stated that at that point he swerved to avoid hitting the vehicle, losing control and traveling into the path of Crabdree.

Ancona, Stricklin and Crabdree were transported by ambulance to Parkland Health Center on Liberty Street for treatment. The police report stated that Melton was taken to St. John’s Mercy Hospital in Creve Couer because his injuries were determined to be life threatening.

The report also stated that, according to a relative of Melton’s, he was placed on life support and was in a coma due to injuries that included major swelling to his brain. Doctors determined he was clinically brain dead and in a persistent vegetative state. The decision was made by family members to disconnect Melton from life support and he subsequently died on September 25.

According to the indictment, filed in the Circuit Court of St. Francois County, Ancona has been charged with the class C felony of involuntary manslaughter for recklessly causing the death of Melton by colliding with another vehicle while operating a motor vehicle with criminal negligence.

The other charges allege that Ancona committed the class C felony of assault in the second degree by operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and acting with criminal negligence which caused physical injury to Stricklin and Crabdree.

Ancona is scheduled to appear for an initial arraignment before Circuit Judge Wendy Wexler Horn on March 4.

Amy Patterson is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3616 or apatterson@dailyjournalonline.com.

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