A Missouri judge is considering whether a party host can be held responsible for a drunk minor who left her home and caused a fatal car accident.
Sandra Triebel, 47, could face an involuntary manslaughter charge for the 2009 death of Laura B. Reynolds. The 16-year-old was killed on Halloween night when Kenneth S. Blake II, then 19, drove from Triebel’s home with a blood alcohol level two-and-a-half times the legal limit and caused the deadly crash.
If the case goes to trial, Triebel could become the first person in state history to beconvicted as an alcohol provider held responsible for a fatal drunk driving accident.
What makes this incident different?
ABC News reports:
[Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Baker] said her office charged Triebel in Reynolds’ death because she mixed the drinks herself in her Kansas City home, knew that Blake was a minor when she served him alcohol, and knew that he was intoxicated when he got into his car. That level of criminal negligence warrants an involuntary manslaughter charge, she said.
Triebel’s defense lawyer, Tiffany Leuty, argues that her client can not be charged because it is impossible to prove that Triebel caused the accident, according to theKansas City Star.
“We don’t hold people responsible for a third party’s actions,” Leuty said at a recent court hearing. “This is nothing new. People serve underage people all the time in Missouri, but we don’t have another person charged with involuntary manslaughter.”
If charged, Triebel also faces two misdemeanor counts of supplying liquor to a minor and allowing a minor to drink on her property.
Following the incident, Blake pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of assault.