A Lawson man who caused two head-on collisions, including one that killed a 60-year-old woman, today received a sentence of life in prison plus 14 years.
Lucas A. Bates, 30, pleaded guilty in September in Clay County Circuit Court to second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree assault and flight to avoid arrest.
He apologized today to family members of the victims and said he had battled a lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“I’m not a monster but a man who has made many mistakes,” Bates said.
Clay County Prosecutor Daniel White said Bates had a blood-alcohol content of 0.174, more than twice the legal limit, on March 14, 2009, the day the wrecks occurred on U.S. 69 in rural Clay County.
Shortly before the wrecks, Bates lost control of his northbound car and drove into a ditch as a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper approached from the south. Bates then took off.
The trooper turned around and pursued Bates. A dashboard video shown during today’s hearing showed the trooper exceeded 120 mph on the two-lane highway but couldn’t catch up with Bates before the wreck.
Authorities said Shirley K. Harless, 60, of Plattsburg, Mo., was driving south on U.S. 69, just north of Route D, when Bates’ car struck hers while he was passing multiple vehicles.
Bates then struck another vehicle, driven by Amy D. Oliphant, 26, of Excelsior Springs. Debris hit a fourth car.
Bates’ car veered off the road and caught fire. He was critically injured.
Harless died at the scene. A passenger in her vehicle, Robert D. Smallwood of Plattsburg, was seriously injured.
Oliphant and a passenger in her vehicle suffered minor injuries.
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