The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 22, 2013

Defendant admits being under influence of meth in injury accident

By Jeff Lehr

— A 30-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to four felony counts of assault stemming from a motor vehicle accident a year ago in which he was driving under the influence of methamphetamine, and a Carthage couple and their two children were injured.

Tyler Tonyan, of Pittsburg, Kan., pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court to four counts of second-degree assault in a plea deal with the prosecutor’s office that would limit the prison time he might be assessed to no more than five years. He had been facing the possibility of up to seven years on each of the counts.

Circuit Judge David Dally delayed formal action on the plea bargain and set Tonyan’s sentencing hearing for June 24.

The defendant failed to yield the right of way on April 7, 2012, at a red light on West Chestnut Street in Carthage, and the vehicle he was driving collided with a vehicle occupied by Sebero Lopez and Mira Merida, their 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Merida and her son suffered cervical sprains, while Lopez suffered a cut on his hand and his daughter had a bloody nose.

The defendant underwent field sobriety tests at the scene and admitted to officers that he had injected meth less than 15 hours previously, according to the affidavit.


THE AFFIDAVIT in the case stated that testing determined that Tyler Tonyan was under the influence of both a depressant and a stimulant.