Early Monday morning, roughly an hour before two teenagers lost their lives in a fiery car crash that two other passengers survived, Excelsior Springs police stopped the same group of male teenagers on St. Louis Avenue, near Sycamore Street.
According to police, the occupants of the vehicle had been yelling loudly out the windows and a license plate light was visibly out. Three passengers in the vehicle told officers they had been drinking at a party in Ray County and the driver had picked them up.
Police said Tuesday they performed field sobriety tests and the driver showed no signs of impairment. When the driver took a breath test, his blood alcohol content was less than half of .02 percent, which is the amount Missouri law defines as a minor in possession. No alcohol or alcoholic containers were found in the car, police said.
“With no legal justification to further detain the driver, he and the other occupants were released from the vehicle stop at about 3:46 a.m.,” a news release distributed Tuesday said.
Forty minutes later, the vehicle crashed into a concrete sign support on Salisbury Road in Independence, overturned and caught fire, Independence police say.
Anthony Dunlap, 19, of Grain Valley, and Michael Smith, 17, of Independence, were killed, according to online fundraising accounts made to help family with funeral expenses. Two other male teens were taken to a hospital and are expected to survive.