INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A conversation between Excelsior Springs police and teens was captured on dashcam video just hours before a crash that killed two of the young men.
Excelsior Springs police said they had no choice but to allow a car full of teenagers who admitted they had been drinking to go on their way. A short time later, that car crashed killing two of the four teens.
The crash happened in June. Police said the officer stopped the vehicle as it drove through town because two of the teens were yelling out of the windows.
"You've had a little bit?" the Excelsior Springs officer is heard asking. The officer who pulled over 19-year-old Anthony Dunlap around 3 a.m. told the teen he knew he'd been drinking.
Dunlap did pass the field sobriety tests, though the breathalyzer test did detect a small amount off alcohol, less than .01 percent, not enough to be considered a minor in possession under Missouri law.
Dunlap told the officer that his family said it was okay for him to have a little bit to drink, since he was about to leave for a week. Dunlap admitted everyone else in the car was drunk, which police confirmed.
The officer told the teens they could go to jail.
"They've been drinking. Obviously, they could get a minor in possession, but I'm not going to go that route," the officer is heard saying.
That decision put Dunlap back behind the wheel with a warning. Less than an hour later, Dunlap as well as 17-year-old Michael Smith would be dead.
"We've all been young, man," the officer explained to Dunlap in the video. He told them to "quit acting like jackasses" before saying, "Obviously you guys aren't old enough to drink."
The officer told Dunlap he appreciated his helpfulness.
"I appreciate you cooperating. Makes me feel safe that you can drive the car away," one officer said.
Before the teens left, the officer even joked a bit, refusing to shake hands because of vomit, yet offered an elbow bump.
Police declined to comment on the footage. There's no word on whether those officers took any time off or if they violated any policy.