Sheriff: Drunk driver to blame in fatal Maries County car crash

COLUMBIA – Maries County sheriff’s deputies said a drunk driver was to blame in a fatal car crash from early Saturday morning.

Emergency crews pronounced a Rolla man dead on the scene of the single-car crash.

Austin Edwards, 25, was driving his 2003 Ford Mustang northbound around 3 a.m. on State Route E, according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol crash report. The vehicle crossed the center line and began to skid. It became airborne and hit multiple trees before overturning.

One passenger, 25-year-old Brennan Kristek of Waynesville, was pronounced dead on the scene. Another passenger, 22-year-old Raven Taylor of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was airlifted to University Hospital.

University Hospital officials said Taylor is in good condition as of 8 p.m. Sunday.

Edwards was taken into custody later Saturday morning for driving while intoxicated, according to a probable cause statement. He was charged with felony driving while intoxicated resulting in death of another and felony serious physical injury. Edwards was also charged with a misdemeanor of operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner.

the probable cause statement said Edwards had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath while he spoke and appeared to be confused at times. It described Edwards’ eyes as “bloodshot and watery.”

Officials conducted an on-site breathalyzer, where Edwards tested at a .107% blood alcohol level. The legal limit is .08% BAC.

Edwards said he had been in a crash, but was not sure what had happened. He refused medical treatment.

“Unfortunately, because of the selfish acts of a drunk driver someone has lost their life in Maries County,” Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said in a Facebook post. “The suspect is currently in our jail.”

If you or a loved one have suffered accident injuries in a car accident call Northland Injury Law at 816-400-4878 to speak to a Missouri automobile accident lawyer today for help in recovering the compensation you need. An experienced personal injury attorney can ease some of the burden by engaging in fact-finding, gathering the necessary documentation, and crafting concise and thorough demands for settlement of your claim.

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