An alleged drunk driver from Sparta is facing five felony counts in connection with a tragic accident that led to the death of his 3-year-old son in November. The man has been charged with four counts of motor vehicle assault in connection with the drunk-driving incident, along with an additional charge of intoxicated vehicular involuntary manslaughter. He also faces a variety of misdemeanors in connection with the collision.

Authorities report that the man was driving east on Highway 14 when the collision occurred between Nixa and Ozark. The driver lost control of his vehicle, sliding into the side of a westbound SUV. His son, who was a passenger in the back seat of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy's mother was seriously injured. Occupants of a third car that struck the SUV in the rear also sustained moderate and minor injuries.

The driver in this case would be considered a repeat DUI offender. He has been convicted of driving while intoxicated, along with driving on the wrong side of the roadway, in 2006.

In this case, it would behoove the suspect to consider a guilty plea. The evidence against him is extensive, largely because he was deemed at fault in the car accident. Additionally, if blood and breathalyzer tests were conducted after the accident, his intoxication would be well-established. Recent legal challenges to the accuracy of breathalyzers have permitted some suspects to walk away from DUI charges, but this man is facing additional counts of motor vehicle assault as well.

A guilty plea might not keep the man out of jail, but he would be able to enjoy a reduced prison sentence. Prosecutors might even consider dropping some of the charges against the man if he confesses in connection with the accident. The man has suffered a significant loss because of the crash; a drawn-out and emotional trial would probably cause him serious distress. The man should work together with his legal team to determine his best plea option.

Source: News Leader, "Driver charged in November crash that killed toddler," Rance Burger, Feb. 7, 2013.