According to Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen, deputies were notified by a concerned family member around 11:15 p.m. Monday that Brenda Gross was possibly driving while intoxicated in a white car. Deputies went to the Hopewell area in an attempt to locate Gross.
Just after 11:35 p.m., Corporal Scott Pratt, a five-year veteran, contacted dispatchers and said he located debris from the front bumper of a white passenger vehicle on State Highway 8 at Jargon Road (Hopewell turnoff). Pratt removed the debris from the road and said he would continue searching for the vehicle itself.
Pratt left State Highway 8 at Potosi Lake Road and went west on Old Highway 8 E. As the corporal approached the Hopewell turnoff, he struck Gross with his vehicle.
“Gross was wearing black boots, a dark shade of blue jeans--almost black--and a black style burlap coat,” Sheriff Jacobsen said.
Corporal Pratt rushed to deliver aid to Gross while radioing dispatch for assistance.
Gross was rushed to Washington County Memorial Hospital. She was declared dead at 12:22 a.m.
The corporal has since been placed on paid desk duty.
“He’s on administrative leave not because of any internal issues; to give him time to grieve,” Sheriff Jacobsen said.
The sheriff said Pratt was quite upset by what happened.
Sheriff Jacobsen said he's requested the Missouri State Highway Patrol to handle the investigation. The sheriff does not believe his deputy did anything wrong, but wants citizens to know his department is transparent and he holds his employees to a higher standard.
Meanwhile, Brenda’s mother, Arlene Fann, said over the years her daughter did drink a little bit. In the past seven days, the sheriff said Brenda Gross had been arrested on two different occasions for drinking and driving, as well as leaving the scene of an accident.
For their part, family members were not angry with Corporal Pratt.
“I don’t blame him because he was looking for her he was trying to help her," Fann said.