Man to go to prison for 25 years for killing 2 children in Blue Springs I-70 DWI crash
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The driver in a Labor Day 2016 vehicular crash that killed two children and injured their mother and father pleaded guilty Thursday in Jackson County to two counts of murder and two counts of assault and DWI charges.
James Green, 61, of Odessa, Mo., was sentenced to 25 years on each count of Murder 2nd Degree, seven years on each count of assault and 4 years on Driving While Suspended. All sentences will be served simultaneously.
Green killed Gavin, 13, and Chloe, 7, Beaird and critically injured their father. The Beaird family was driving back to Warrenton, Mo., after a trip to Nebraska to see family when they were struck from behind on eastbound I-70, west of Adams Dairy Parkway exit in Blue Springs.
According to court records, Green overtook and struck the rear of the vehicle in which the Beairds were traveling. At the emergency room, a Highway Patrol Trooper reported the strong odor of intoxicants coming from the defendant.
A trooper says Green told him: “I had cruise control on. I was on my way home. I looked down at my phone to swipe to change the song. I did not look up. I was still looking down when the impact happened.”
Green stated he had been drinking before the crash. The defendant previously refused to give a breath test. Two blood draws were later taken.
Green’s driver’s license was suspended and he had prior convictions for DWI.
After the crash, police helped Green out of his Cadillac Escalade, which was on its side. He had minor injuries.