A 61-year-old Odessa, Mo., man has been convicted of murder and sentenced to prison for 25 years for causing a crash on Interstate 70 that killed two children and left their father paralyzed from the chest down.
James L. Green pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of assault and DWI charges in the five-car pileup on Labor Day, according to Jackson County prosecutors.
A Jackson County Circuit Court judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison on each murder count, seven years on each count of assault and four years for driving with a suspended license. The sentences were all set to run concurrently.
Prosecutors said Green was intoxicated when he caused the wreck on Interstate 70 and Adams Dairy Parkway in Blue Springs. Green was driving with a suspended driver’s license and had prior convictions for driving while intoxicated, according to court records.
Never miss a local story.
Green was driving a Cadillac Escalade eastbound on I-70 on his way home, prosecutors said, when his vehicle rear-ended another vehicle. Green later told investigators that he drank three beers about an hour before the wreck.
The crash occurred when Green looked at his phone to swipe to change the song. He never looked up and was still looking at his phone when he rear-ended another vehicle, according to court records.
The wreck killed Chloe Beaird, 7, and Gavin Beaird, 13, of Warrenton, Mo. Both children died at the scene. Their father, David C. Beaird, was rushed to a hospital and is paralyzed from the chest down.
The children’s mother, Jennifer Beaird, also was injured. They all were wearing seat belts.