The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 22, 2011

Fatal crash draws manslaughter charge

JOPLIN, Mo. — A single-vehicle accident Tuesday morning on North Main Street in Joplin claimed the life of one young Joplin man, injured another and led to a manslaughter charge against a third.

Michael Carsten, 20, was killed and an unidentified man was injured in the accident about 5:40 a.m. in the 1100 block of North Main Street. The suspected driver of the car, Justin M. Carpenter, 21, was charged several hours later with involuntary manslaughter.

Police said the southbound Ford Taurus ran off the west side of the road and flipped several times before striking a utility pole and coming to rest in a field north of the Head Start program school.

A call reporting the accident came in to the police dispatch center at 5:50 a.m. The first officer to arrive at the scene called for an ambulance at 5:51 a.m.

Cpl. Chuck Niess of the Joplin Police Department said a few hours after the accident that police had yet to determine who was driving the vehicle. He said all the occupants apparently were thrown from the vehicle, although investigators remained uncertain how many people were in the car.

“We know there were at least three males,” Niess said.

One of them, later identified as Carsten, died at the scene, he said. Another was taken to a hospital with injuries. Niess said a third man was taken into custody and added that investigators were exploring the possibility that one or more occupants might have left the area before officers arrived.

Niess said the third man — later identified as Carpenter — was allegedly intoxicated and was taken into custody for safekeeping for 12 hours while the investigation proceeded.

The charge of manslaughter was sought against Carpenter about 5 p.m., and an arrest warrant was issued.

The name of the injured occupant was being withheld by police while the investigation of the crash remained active.


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