Dexter funeral director killed - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Dexter, MO

Dexter funeral director killed

Dexter funeral director killed
By: CJ Cassidy

DEXTER, Mo. - New details on the deadly crash that claimed the life of 48-year-old Rick Watkins. Watkins was killed in a head on collision that happened Friday night in the 800 block of South Walnut in Dexter.

James Jankowski faces felony DWI and involuntary manslaughter charges. Court documents also indicate he had drugs in his possession.

As for the victim's family - despite this being a very difficult time for them, they chose to appeal to others to think twice - before putting someone on the road in harm's way.  "He's dedicated to his life and family -just a good person," Mike Watkins says of his brother. After working side by side with Rick at the family owned funeral home for almost 30 years, Mike can't seem to talk about his younger brother in past tense. "He was trying to help someone out that night, and was coming in to work. The business we're in, you just never know when you're going to have to work," Mike says.

So when he learned about his brother's head on crash with an intoxicated driver he was stunned. "It seems like I'm in the twilight zone. It just doesn't seem real but you know it's real," he says.

The car Rick Watkins drove now sits crumpled up in an auto lot - the Bernie man who allegedly caused that wreck - James Jankowski - is still in hospital.

Police say this isn't the first DWI charge he's faced, but the third. "He did have several convictions, including driving while suspended, driving while revoked, in years past, but at the present time he did have a driver's license," Dexter Police Chief Paul Haubold says.

Back at the funeral home, as the Watkins family prepares to say goodbye to their loved one, they have an important message they hope to pass on. "The main thing is that people might consider those things think of the tragedy causes people's lives. We've got our family a wife, sons, mother and father, brother so forth - how it affects them maybe discourage someone not to do that," Mike Watkins says.

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