A charge of involuntary manslaughter was filed Monday against the driver of a vehicle that struck the back end of another vehicle, causing the death of an infant in April 2017.
A charge of involuntary manslaughter was filed Monday against the driver of a vehicle that struck the back end of another vehicle, causing the death of an infant in April 2017. Livingston County Prosecutor Adam Warren filed the Class E felony charge against Benjamin Wesley Davis, 23, of Chillicothe. The accident occurred in a flagged work zone at 10:55 a.m. April 17, on U.S. Highway 65, approximately four miles south of Chillicothe. The Missouri State Highway Patrol accident report states that Davis was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Express van south when it struck a southbound 2013 Ford sport utility vehicle driven by Warren M. Nichols, 26, of Springfield. Occupants in the Nichols vehicle included his wife, Amanda M. Nichols, 27, and their infant son, Rowan M. Nichols, who was restrained in a rear-facing child restraint at the time of the accident. All those involved in the accident were injured and taken by ambulance to Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe. The infant passed away at the hospital. The crash occurred within a MoDOT work zone near the Roach Lake bridge where a flagman was stopping cars at each end of the work area and allowing only one direction to proceed through the work zone at a time, according to the statement of probable cause filed with the prosecutor Nov. 17 by the Highway Patrol. Davis was interviewed at the hospital and told authorities that he had looked down – possibly to look at the vehicle’s radio – didn’t see the signs and when he looked up he had hit the vehicle, according to the statement. Authorities seized Davis’ mobile phone and reported that it could not be demonstrated that the phone was in use at the time of the crash. The Patrol completed its Missouri Uniform Crash Report on May 22 and stated that the van’s ACM data indicated that it was traveling 61 mph and its brakes were applied in the last second before impact. The SUV’s data indicated that it was stopped for five seconds prior to undergoing an approximate 32 mph motion change after being rear-ended. The statement of probable cause also stated that Davis’ toxicology report indicated the finding of carboxy-THC in the blood.