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Southeast Missouri man pleads guilty in connection with crash that killed wife
GREENVILLE, Mo. -- A Clubb, Mo., man was sentenced to prison Friday after pleading guilty to causing the death of his wife, who was riding in his car when he crashed it near Greenville in September.
Daniel J. White, 27, pleaded guilty as charged to the felonies of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance before Associate Circuit Judge Randy Schuller, according to Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Bob Ramshur.
White had been accused of causing the death of his 49-year-old wife, Brenda L. White, and of possessing the suspected cocaine found at the scene of the one-vehicle crash.
Daniel White entered his pleas after waiving having preliminary hearings on the charges, Ramshur said.
"He got a six-year sentence out of a possible seven" on both charges, Ramshur said. The sentences, he said, were ordered to run concurrently.
Ramshur said the six-year sentence was what he recommended as part of the negotiated plea, which also included the state dismissing Daniel White's misdemeanor traffic offenses.
Both Daniel White and his wife had "various kinds of drugs in their system, according to the lab analysis," Ramshur explained. "If [the victim] had been totally innocent, unrelated [or] someone outside the vehicle, it would have been a different case.
"The max for someone riding in the vehicle under these circumstances is seven."
Daniel White pleaded guilty in connection with a Sept. 12 crash, which occurred on U.S. 67, about two and one-half miles north of Greenville, and was investigated by Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Carson.
Although Daniel White told Carson he had swerved to miss a deer, the initial accident investigation revealed his 2001 Daewoo was northbound when it ran off the roadway and struck a culvert, as well as several trees, Carson said in his probable cause affidavit.
While speaking with White, "I noticed he was having difficulty keeping his balance, almost falling down several times," Carson said. "White's speech was slurred and he mumbled at times."
Daniel White, according to Carson appeared intoxicated; however, "I could not smell any alcohol on his person."
When Carson asked Daniel White whether he had taken any prescription medications, he answered affirmatively.
While on the scene, Carson said, he asked Daniel White to perform a series of field-sobriety tests.
"Upon the conclusion of the tests, it was my opinion White was impaired by drugs," Carson said.
After Daniel White's arrest, Carson said, patrol trooper Richard Ayers conducted a drug-recognition expert interview at the Wayne County Sheriff's Department.
During the interview, Daniel White reportedly admitted to purchasing a "20-rock of crack cocaine" earlier in the evening, as well as to smoking crack cocaine and marijuana before the accident.
Further, Daniel White admitted to taking several medications during the day, including Zoloft and Hydrocodone.
Officers reportedly found a suspected glass crack pipe and a small rock of crack cocaine during their investigation.