A Chariton County man has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter after driving around barricades into flood waters, which caused the death of a passenger in his vehicle.

A Chariton County man has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter after driving around barricades into flood waters, which caused the death of a passenger in his vehicle. James W. Pleasant, 46, Mendon, has been charged in Chariton County, with involuntary manslaughter. He was arrested by troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol at about 7:41 p.m., on June 4.

According to a probable cause statement by the Chariton County Prosecuting Attorney Pleasant was driving westbound on Route M when he drove into a flooded area where water was rushing across the roadway, at the time. His vehicle became overtaken by water and was pushed off of the roadway. He was able to escape the vehicle through the trunk, however, his passenger, Alicia Meyer, 33, was not able to do so.

Meyer was disabled, according to the probable cause statement.

Sgt. Eric Brown, public information officer with Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop B, said that at about 7:20 a.m., on May 31 on Route M, just west of Highway 11 in Chariton County, Pleasant is alleged to have driven around a Missouri Department of Transportation barricade, marking a flooded roadway and into flood waters.

“This is still an active investigation,” Brown added.

Brown said the Troop B Dive Team was dispatched and was able to recover the body at about 12 p.m., on June 4, from the submerged vehicle.

Pleasant is being held in Chariton County jail in lieu of $50,000

Do not drive around barricades

Brown said that Troop B responded to at least six instances of assisting motorists who had driven into flood waters, and noted some of those incidents involved people driving around barricades.

“First, it is dangerous, not just for the people in the vehicles but also for first responders and law enforcement who respond to the situation. Driving into flood waters is never safe.’

Brown noted that there are numerous cases across the area, from the recent flooding, that over there can be damage to roadways, under the floodwaters that cannot be seen until after the water recedes.

“Culverts have been washed out, sections of roads are gone or heavily damaged,” he said. “So not only are the flood waters dangerous you never know what the road is like underneath it, making it all the more dangerous.”

It is also a crime to drive around barricades on roadways, punishable by a fine, or other charges depending if damage is done to the roadway, other property or if someone is injured.

“It is safe for everyone involved if you simply do not drive around or move barricades noting a closed road, for whatever reason,” Brown said.