Man pleads guilty to his role in deadly Hwy. 34 crash

Man pleads guilty to his role in deadly Hwy. 34 crash

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A Jackson, Missouri man pleaded guilty on May 16 for his role in a deadly crash on April 5, 2013 on Missouri Highway 34 in Cape Girardeau County.

Bobby Joe Abernathy, 34, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the first degree and vehicular assault in the second degree.

The crash happened when a box truck Abernathy was driving crossed over the center line of the highway and hit a sport utility vehicle that was approaching in the opposite direction.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia H. Fisher, a passenger on the sport utility vehicle, was killed in the crash. Erin Cordell, 18 at the time and driver of the sport utility vehicle, was injured in the crash.

The case was investigated by Missouri State Highway Patrol and the MSHP Crash Team.

On Friday afternoon, Abernathy pleaded guilty to the charges in front of Judge Benjamin Lewis at the Jackson, Mo. courthouse. He was with his attorney, Steve Wilson.

Abernathy admitted that he was under the influence of marijuana and methamphetamine at the time of the crash. He further admitted that he was swerving in and out of his lane and was thereby criminally negligent when he caused the crash.

Judge Lewis followed the terms of the plea agreement reached between prosecutors and Abernathy's attorney, which called for a total sentence of 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Prosecuting Attorney Christopher K. Limbaugh and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jack Koester handled the state's involvement with the case and guilty plea.

Members of the victim's family were present for the plea and gave statements to the court.

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