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Sneezing driver in fatal wreck is sentenced to probation and community service

Updated: 2013-06-12T22:58:24Z


The Kansas City Star

A driver whose untimely sneeze apparently contributed to a Northland accident that killed one woman and left her young son paralyzed last year was sentenced Wednesday to probation and community service.

Clay County Associate Circuit Judge Janet Sutton also sentenced Kathryn Brady of Smithville to 30 days in jail but suspended execution of that sentence and placed her on two years of probation.

Brady must take a defensive driving course and complete 100 hours of community service, Sutton said.

Brady previously pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner and failing to register an out-of-state vehicle while a Missouri resident.

She did not speak during the hearing. Her lawyer, John Chick, declined to comment, citing a pending civil lawsuit filed against Brady in connection with the incident. Brady left the courtroom immediately after the hearing.

The Nov. 14 accident happened on County Road DD east of Smithville. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, after Brady started “sneezing violently,” her eastbound minivan crossed the center line and struck another car head-on. The impact killed the second driver, Laura McClendon, 30. Her son, Jett Kirkland, now 2, was left paralyzed.

Relatives of McClendon and Jett did not attend the sentencing.

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to

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