A Jefferson County man has been charged after causing a serious accident in French Village in May.
Timothy Stauder, Jr., 23, of rural De Soto, has been charged with Felony D driving while intoxicated resulting in serious physical injury and Felony E driving while intoxicated causing physical injury. A warrant has been issued for Stauder’s arrest. His bond has been set at $5,000 with a special condition that he obtain an alcohol-monitoring device within 24 hours of posting bond.
According to a probable cause statement from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at just after 3 a.m. on May 25, a trooper was dispatched to a motor vehicle crash at the intersection of Fish Pond Drive and Osage Drive in French Village.
The patrol report Stauder crossed the center of the road and struck a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction causing the two occupants of the other vehicle to be completely ejected from the automobile.
The trooper reported that a strong odor of alcohol was coming from Stauder’s breath, his speech was slurred, and his eyes were bloodshot. Stauder told the trooper that he had consumed eight beers since 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. the night before. Stauder refused to comply with field sobriety tests and was arrested and transported to the St. Francois County Jail where he was held for 24 hours.
At a later date, the trooper interviewed the occupants of the other vehicle and learned that the driver suffered a severe back sprain as well as a foot sprain. He passenger of the vehicle suffered a fractured right wrist, two fractured ribs, five fractured vertebrae, several pulled muscles, bruising, and road rash.
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St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Gilliam said in an April statement that it is not safe to drive while you are high or intoxicated and any drug use that impairs your judgment and reaction time makes it inherently unsafe for you to get behind the wheel. In addition, Missouri's DWI law is very clear - driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal.
“My office will work with law enforcement in St. Francois County to vigorously prosecute driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam also said that there is no distinction under the law between driving high or driving drunk.
According to charging guides provided by Gilliam, a first-time offender of DWI/DUI law is typically charged with a Class B misdemeanor and can then be charged with a Class A misdemeanor when a second offense has occurred.
When a person becomes an “aggravated offender” or causes physical injury to someone as a result, the person can be charged with a Class E or Class D felony depending on who is injured. If someone dies as a result, it can be considered involuntary manslaughter and depending on the nature or frequency of the offender, the person can be charged with a range from Class C up to Class A felony.
Punishments from DUI/DWI can range from large fines to time in jail, and even incarceration in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Individuals also risk losing their license and paying extremely high auto insurance premiums or possibly not even being able to obtain insurance at all.