A woman accused of supplying alcohol to a minor, who then caused a fatal car wreck, pleaded guilty Thursday and will spend the next two years on probation.
Sandra S. Triebel, 47, pleaded guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to misdemeanor charges of supplying alcohol to a minor and allowing the consumption of alcohol by a minor on her property. She received a suspended sentence of 180 days, two years of supervised probation and 40 hours of community service. She also must attend a victim impact panel.
Triebel, 47, hosted a Halloween party in 2009 where she served alcohol to minors, including Kenneth S. Blake II.
Blake, 19 at the time, left the party intoxicated and was involved in a crash that killed 16-year-old Laura Beth Reynolds.
Authorities said Blake had a blood alcohol level of at least 0.18, more than twice the legal limit. He is serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter and assault charges, according to Missouri Department of Corrections records.
Laura’s brother, Jake Reynolds, who wanted to witness Triebel’s plea, said after leaving the courtroom that he felt cheated.
“Disappointed is an understatement,” said Reynolds, 32, of Shawnee. “Two years’ probation for getting the ball rolling in the death of 16-year-old is like a slap in our face.”
The day of the crash, he said, Laura played clarinet in a marching band performance. When she got home, she asked her mom whether she could go to a horror movie with two friends.
“She literally begged Mom to go,” Jake Reynolds said.
The siblings’ father was killed in a motorcycle crash when Laura was 17 months old and since then their mom had been cautious with her children, he said. That day was the first time Laura had been allowed to go out at night with friends.
After the friends were turned away at the movies because two of them were not 17, they went to Taco Bell and then grabbed a soda. Laura, a student at Fort Osage High School, decided to stay in the car longer while one of the girls was being dropped off.
Authorities have said that Blake was driving west in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 24 when his car struck an eastbound car carrying Laura and her two friends. The friends were not seriously injured.
Jackson County prosecutors initially broke legal ground in Missouri by charging Triebel with involuntary manslaughter. But Jackson County Circuit Judge Peggy Stevens McGraw later ruled that Missouri law specifically states that it is the consumption of alcohol, not the furnishing of it, “that is the proximate cause of injuries inflicted by a drunk driver.”
Jake Reynolds said Thursday that “the manslaughter charge should have stuck.” He wanted Triebel to know he was there for his sister.
“She needs to know I’m watching,” he said.