Man convicted of DWI causing serious injury, given suspended sentence, probation
Gainesville resident Gregory Ralph McGee appeared before Ozark County Circuit Judge Craig Carter during the Sept. 8 session of Ozark County Law Day and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated causing serious physical injury to another person, a class D felony.
Carter gave McGee a suspended execution of sentence with a seven-year backup and placed him on supervised probation for five years. The SES means McGee does not necessarily have to serve the prison sentence. Instead, the immediate punishment is supervised probation. If McGee violates probation before it is finished, Carter can choose to execute the backup sentence at that time and send him to serve the seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. An SES felony conviction does stay on a defendant’s criminal record, unlike a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS).
The case is in connection with a June 30, 2020, crash on Highway 5 south near W Highway.
MSHP crash report
The Missouri State Highway Patrol online crash report indicated that McGee and another driver, Gainesville resident Joshua Randolph, were both seriously injured in the two-vehicle crash that occurred at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, 2020, on Highway 5, about 1 mile southeast of Pontiac.
McGee, 62 at the time of the crash, was transported to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas, by ground ambulance.
Randolph, 31 at the time of the crash, was transported by air ambulance to Cox South Hospital in Springfield. Randolph’s mother, Brenda Miller, and stepfather, Dave Miller, posted an update the morning after the crash, telling friends and family, “Josh is having the first of many surgeries to come, but he seems stable and strong enough for surgery. Praise God he is alive. He is also asking for prayers for the guy in the other car. Thanks doesn’t seem good enough for the love and prayers we have received and God’s grace is still amazing….”
According to the MSHP report, Randolph was traveling northbound in a 2007 Chevrolet Impala on Highway 5 when McGee, driving a 1999 Chevrolet Blazer southbound, crossed the centerline and entered Randolph’s lane. Randolph hit McGee’s vehicle in the side, the report says.
Neither Randolph or McGee was wearing a seatbelt, according to the report.
MSHP Sgt. L. Elliott wrote in his official report, which is the basis for the probable cause statement in the case, that he was called to the crash site at 4:24 p.m. by MSHP Troop G radio personnel. Elliott wrote that he arrived on scene about a half-hour later at 4:51 p.m.
When the trooper arrived, McGee had already been transported to BRMC, and Randolph was being loaded into a medical helicopter to be transported to Springfield.
Elliott reportedly interviewed three witnesses to the crash and investigated the impact site and the severely damaged vehicles that were still on scene.
“As the vehicles were about to meet, the Blazer traveled partially off the right side of the roadway and then returned to the road where it crossed the centerline in the face of the oncoming Malibu. The Malibu struck the Blazer in the passenger side and the vehicles overturned,” Elliott wrote in the report. He noted that the Blazer’s engine compartment caught fire after the impact, but emergency responders were able to extinguish the blaze.
Elliott said that during his investigation at the crash scene, an eyewitness reportedly told the officer that she had smelled intoxicants coming from the Blazer. Elliott then spoke with the Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputies on scene to ask if they had noticed the scent of intoxicants or other signs that either of the drivers was operating his vehicle under the influence or drugs or alcohol. The deputies confirmed that they had also smelled alcohol on McGee, and former Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Curtis Dobbs told Elliott he believed McGee was likely intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Elliott reportedly called Ozark County Prosecuting Attorney John Garrabrant, who “advised the best course of action would be to travel to Baxter Regional Medical Center and try to obtain a voluntary blood sample from McGee,” Elliott wrote.
The officer photographed the vehicles and requested that MSHP Troop G send a crash reconstructionist to respond to the scene.
The officer then traveled to BRMC.
“McGee was laying on a gurney as I told him I was there to investigate the crash he had been involved in,” Elliott wrote in the report. “He became argumentative and asked where the crash occurred. I told him the location, but he continued to argue and not answer my questions about the crash.”
Elliott mentions in the report that during the conversation he smelled the strong scent of alcohol on McGee’s breath and noticed that his eyes were watery and bloodshot. Elliott reportedly asked McGee how much alcohol he’d drunk that day, and McGee told the officer he’d had three beers. The officer asked when he’d had his last beer, and McGee said he didn’t know, according to the report.
Elliott asked McGee to submit a preliminary breath test, which he did. The result was positive for alcohol and over the legal limit; however, the report does not say what the breath test result was specifically.
Elliott asked McGee to submit to the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and McGee again agreed, the report says.