Driver gets six years for wrong-way crash

Saturday, June 7, 2003

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A Blue Springs man was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for causing a fatal crash while driving the wrong way on Interstate 70 last year.

Fredrick J. Hertel, 30, must serve an additional five months for a drunken driving incident that occurred nine months later, after his license was revoked.

Hertel pleaded guilty April 15 in Jackson County District Court to an involuntary manslaughter charge stemming from the crash on I-70 in Blue Springs.

Prosecutors said Hertel was driving east in the westbound lanes about 3:45 a.m. on April 19, 2002, when he collided nearly head-on with a car driven by Francis A. Beck, 18, of Kansas City.

Hertel told a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper he had consumed four or five shots of tequila and three or four bourbon drinks before the crash.

In January of this year, while free on bond, Hertel was charged with driving while intoxicated after a state trooper caught him driving 85 mph in 55 mph zone on Missouri 291 in Independence.

Hertel pleaded guilty Friday to the drunken driving charge as well as driving while his license was revoked.

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