FOX Files – Wrong way driver enters plea deal right before re-trial

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MO (KTVI)- It is a big development in a FOX Files investigation involving a deadly wrong way accident. Kelli Smith entered a plea deal Monday which resulted in probation for two years and 30-days jail 'shock time.' Fox 2 was the only TV station in the courtroom today to witness the dramatic turn of events.

On February 25th, 2012, Kelli Smith was driving the wrong way on I-70, about halfway between Columbia and St. Louis when she hit another car head on.  The crash killed Thomas Sullivan, a St. Louis father of two and injured Smith.

Smith's attorney has always maintained her client was fleeing attackers who had slipped her a date rape drug.  An investigation revealed Smith wasn't wearing pants or even underwear at the time of the crash and she had no purse or phone.

In her first trial, Smith was convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter and a sentenced of five years in prison.  An appeals court tossed out Smith's conviction after her attorney argued she is a victim. Columbia, MO attorney Jennifer Bukowsky says that Highway Patrol investigators ignored Smith's car as a possible crime scene.  She pointed the lack of answers about the possible hand prints on the headliner and Smith's high heel shoe found in the back seat.  She also said investigators failed to follow up on what appeared to be finger pry marks on Smith's inner thighs and what doctors described as damage to her cervix.

Bukowsky criticized the main investigator who said he didn't even know what a cervix was, “which infuriated me,” Bukowsky told FOX 2 in February, “because this is the man that just testified as a so-called sexual assault expert investigator, ruled out rape.  He also said he gave the case a 'looksee.''

Smith's case was set for a re-trial next week. Smith has now pleaded to a lesser, misdemeanor charge of careless and imprudent driving.

Monday’s deal came just a couple weeks after the prosecution’s own toxicologist agreed with the defense that Smith’s blood sample, showing a .085 blood alcohol level, was not reliable.

Smith was legally drunk according to the blood alcohol test, but there are questions about how a Trooper stored the blood.  He appeared to violate Highway Patrol policy.

Bukowsky said the blood, “…was with (Trooper) Miller in his car for 59 hours and 51 minutes as he drove around and kept it in a heated shed at his house.  Then it was left for about a week in a room in the courthouse.”

Just last week the prosecution’s own expert witness said “I cannot support the blood testing.”

Toxicologist Dr. Christopher Long’s statements appear in a defendant’s motion that was under seal until Monday.

Long added, “I have integrity, I really do.. .and I don’t want to see – I’ve put a lot of people away, but I don’t like shooting at things in the bushes.”

The toxicologist added that prosecutors know he’ll tell the truth and often plead out cases because of that.  That’s what happened today with Kelli Smith.

Four relatives of Tommy Sullivan read powerful impact statements that had people on all sides of the courtroom sobbing.  They don`t buy Kelli Smith`s arguments and feel she`s gotten away on technicalities.

Read a transcript of Thomas Sullivan Sr.’s statement below:

I am the father of the deceased. I’m not going to be as near as lengthy. My son was at that time was probably one of the finest young men that I ever knew. He was a great father, a friend to all and he will be missed. He had so many friends that it actually, it literally took hours and hours and hours in the reception line for them to pay their last respects, even though it was just urn and ashes there. I had a son. It was 1,670 days ago that he was taken from myself and our family in a senseless crash. Tom will always be missed by everyone who ever met him but mostly by me and the family and his two sons.  No one can feel this kind of grief or sadness until it happens to you. I, next to many others that have experienced these crashes and have had love ones killed as a result of the abuse of alcohol, trust the legal system. It’s hard to trust the system today when everyone is a victim no one takes responsibility of their actions anymore. (Hard to understand)  She was not driving up and down the highway and striking other vehicles then going on I-70 the wrong direction and killing Tommy. Someone made her do it. (Hard to understand) I guess that Tom’s death was his own fault for loving his children and driving home every weekend to see them. After 1,670 days there is one good thing that is happening today, that is I will no longer have to listen to the B.S. that comes out of this trial and never again will I have to think about Kelli smith again. Right here I would like to thank the prosecutors in this case and the fine people of Montgomery County who sat in the jury trial, they got it right and were not fooled by the nonsense presented in the first trial, they got it right. Guilty.

Here's FOX 2's original report on the case - http://fox2now.com/2016/02/22/fox-files-was-wrong-way-driver-fleeing-a-rape/

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