The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 17, 2013

Alcohol, speed suspected factors in fatal crash Saturday

By Jeff Lehr

JOPLIN, Mo. — The driver in a double-fatality accident Saturday in Joplin is suspected of having been intoxicated and speeding at almost twice the posted limit. He may also have been attempting a trick-driving maneuver, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Jonathan H. Snyder, 27, of Webb City, remained in custody Monday at the Joplin City Jail with bond set at $15,000. He is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of second-degree assault in the single-vehicle accident at 1:15 a.m. Saturday on St. Louis Avenue north of G Street.

Police said Snyder lost control of the vehicle while traveling too fast around a curve.

Christian Beasley, 25, of Webb City, and Kristopher Hawkins, 24, of Asbury, were thrown from the vehicle as it rolled three times. They died at the scene of the crash. A fourth occupant, Trevor Morris, 24, of Webb City, who was wearing his seat belt, was taken to a Joplin hospital with moderate injuries.

Joplin Police Department crash team investigators determined that the vehicle was traveling about 62 to 70 mph in a 35 mph zone when it crashed. Morris told officers that Snyder was attempting a “drift maneuver” when he lost control of the vehicle, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed with the charges against him in Jasper County Circuit Court. Drifting is a racing term that generally refers to maintaining a power slide for a prolonged length of time.

Snyder suffered only minor injuries not requiring transport to a hospital. The officer who wrote the affidavit stated that he could smell a strong odor of intoxicants on Snyder at the scene, and that he was swaying back and forth on his feet and staggering while walking.

He reportedly was unable to complete field sobriety tests and refused to submit a breath sample. Police obtained a search warrant and got a blood sample instead at the jail.

Test results out

RESULTS OF A BLOOD-ALCOHOL TEST on the driver of the vehicle have not yet been made public.