Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger announces that Robert Scarlet, age 21, of Montgomery City, Mo., was found guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter in the First Degree, Assault in the Second Degree, and Careless and Imprudent Driving Resulting in an Accident for an October 9, 2013, crash that killed Ryan Biggs and seriously injured Ethan Anderson.
The jury found Scarlet guilty of the charges after deliberating for nearly four hours.
Assistant Attorney General Susan Boresi and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ashley Turner tried the case July 21- 23 to an Audrain County jury of eight men and four women.
Scarlet will be sentenced August 31.
“All of this was preventable if Robert Scarlet had made the decision not to drive while intoxicated.” Shellabarger said.
“Alcohol and reckless driving cost Ryan Biggs his life in a single painful instant. Mr. Scarlet’s decisions to drive in excess of seventy-five miles per hour on a dark, rural, curvy road after being intoxicated, with two passengers and all without seatbelts, had tragic consequences which the Biggs and Anderson families will live with for the rest of their lives. This case has divided Montgomery County, and now is a time to heal those wounds.”
The crash occurred at about 1:31 a.m. on October 9, 2013, on Booneslick Road near Interstate 70 roughly three miles west of New Florence. Scarlet, driving Anderson’s Honda Civic, crossed the road, crashing the car into a road sign, a ditch and trees.
When they left the pavement, Scarlet was driving in excess of eighty miles per hour. The car rotated as it struck the trees and ejected Ryan Biggs, who was the rear seat passenger, and Ethan Anderson, the front seat passenger. Biggs died instantly, and Scarlet and Anderson were seriously injured. Scarlet’s blood alcohol content was .146, nearly twice the legal limit.
“The jury was very attentive to the evidence, and listened intently to the facts through this trial.” Shellabarger said. “I commend them for their focus, persistence and dedication to a just result. This jury has delivered a powerful message to this community and to these families that choices and actions have consequences, and those who take a life will be held accountable.”
“The Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deserve high praise for their caring & thorough investigation in this case,” Shellabarger said.
“This case also involved dedicated professionals from the Montgomery Ambulance District, Arch Medical Helicopter Service, New Florence Fire, and University of Missouri Health Care who all responded to this crash with a high level of skill & compassion. Of particular value to the case was the excellent work of the MSHP Major Crash Investigation Unit, led by Sergeant Andy Mallery. The Crash Team works hundreds of crashes per year & does excellent, precise work.”
“I am also thankful for the assistance of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and its Public Safety Division. AAG Sue Boresi provided the jurors and this victim with a clear, consistent and thorough prosecution at trial with the victim and the community first, focusing on those decisions Robert Scarlet made and the lasting impact of this crash on the victims and families. It is the team concept of experience, knowledge and combined resources which allowed this case to be fully investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and allowing justice to prevail by convicting Robert Scarlet for Ryan’s death and Ethan’s injuries.”
“Our victim’s advocates, Debra Cheshier and Leigh Thomas have been patient beyond measure and supportive through the entire criminal justice process, and will continue to provide that wrap-around support that is crucial for victims of violent crimes: that they are heard in by the Court, supported, safe & protected,” Shellabarger said. “Our community must make sure the victim-blaming mentality is put to rest, as the focus should stay on the defendant, his actions & choices. Driving while intoxicated kills, as this crash painfully demonstrates. Robert Scarlet’s choice to driving while intoxicated took a young man’s life, a son from his Mom and Dad, a role model from his younger brother, and a light from this world. Robert Scarlet’s choice to drive while intoxicated means Ethan Anderson will always carry scars, memories and physical pain from Robert’s decisions. I hope this verdict provides a measure of comfort for their pain.”
Audrain County served as the special prosecuting attorney for Montgomery County in this case.
The case number is 14AA-CR00040-02.