HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — An Independence man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to driving while intoxicated, which caused the death of a highway worker on Interstate 49 early Saturday.

In addition to the felony DWI charge, 24-year-old Trent Mitchell is also accused of involuntary manslaughter, leaving the scene of a crash, operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and aggravated endangerment of a highway worker.

Prosecutors said Mitchell was drunk when he drove into a construction zone and hit 35-year-old Jonathan Wilson of Kansas City.

The crash happened Saturday in the northbound lanes of I-49, just north of Peculiar.

According to investigators, two other highway workers were driving to the work zone when they noticed a white Ford pick-up truck following them.

The workers pulled into a closed lane and the pick-up driver followed them into the work zone, striking and killing Wilson, prosecutors said.

One of the other workers spoke to Mitchell following the crash and told state troopers Mitchell was holding a small bottle of liquor and was “noticeably intoxicated,” court documents say.

If convicted of any prison time, Mitchell faces a mandatory $10,000 fine because the crash happened in a marked construction zone.

Mitchell remains behind bars on a $250,000 cash-only bond. He’s due back in court on Nov. 10.

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