SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP)–A 20-year-old Southwest Baptist University student has been charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of second-degree assault in a Dec. 3 accident in which three passengers were killed and he had been driving under the influence of alcohol.
Tyler L. Wasmer, 20, is expected to turn himself in Jan. 11, the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader reported, and the prosecution is seeking a $5,000 bond.
Killed in the accident were Southwest Baptist University basketball players Gregory Germany, 22, and Mary Miller, 20, and Bryon Phillips, 27, husband of SBU volleyball player Leslie Phillips.
Wasmer, a football player at SBU, and basketball player Jamie Roszell, 19, were seriously injured when a Jeep Cherokee driven by Wasmer ran off a state highway 10 miles north of Springfield, crashed into a tree and caught fire, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
The News-Leader reported that court records indicate that Wasmer told a highway patrol officer the group had been drinking at an establishment where alcohol is served. Court records also indicate that Wasmer’s blood alcohol content was .102 percent, just over Missouri’s legal limit, the newspaper reported.
The charges against Wasmer are Class C felonies and aren’t unusual in traffic accidents when alcohol is involved, Todd Myers, assistant Greene County prosecutor, told the News-Leader, which noted that the charges are punishable by 1 to 7 years in prison.
“I think this tragedy shows that the worst outcome of underage drinking is cases like this — which has prompted our office to take our assertive stance,” Myers told the newspaper.
SBU’s vice president of student development, Steve Morrow, told the News-Leader officials will meet with Wasmer soon to determine whether he can enroll for the spring semester. SBU policy does not allow students to drink, but if a student violates state law “the university has the option of taking action before a [court] decision [is] rendered if circumstances warrant,” Morrow said.