Prosecutors charged a Grain Valley man on Monday with first degree involuntary manslaughter in the Sunday traffic death of an Independence teenager.
An SUV driven by Jesse Gleason, 32, collided with a vehicle driven by Philip Bergman, 19, about 1 p.m. Sunday in the northbound lanes of Blue Parkway near Interstate 470. Bergman died at the scene.
According to court records:
Gleason failed to stop at a red light, and his 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer entered the intersection of Blue Parkway and the I-470 off-ramp at high speed, striking Bergman’s vehicle as it began to turn south on a green light onto Blue Parkway.
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Gleason’s SUV struck Bergman’s vehicle on the driver’s side.
Witness told authorities that Gleason had been driving 70 to 80 mph and that he ran two red lights prior to the crash.
Authorities found a bottle of whiskey near Gleason’s car.
Emergency responders took Gleason to Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, where he was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening. Although a registered nurse and a Lee’s Summit police officer noted that Gleason had bloodshot eyes and his breath smelled of alcohol, he refused to give a blood sample and did not cooperate with the police officer, who tried to conduct an eye test.
Bond has been set at $150,000. A preliminary court hearing is scheduled May 20.
Social media posts revealed Bergman was a recent Truman High School graduate who was interested in cosmetology and trying different hair colors and styles.
“He was going to go to cosmetology school,” April Claphan, Truman High School’s registrar, said of Bergman. “He was very polite, sweet and goal-oriented.”
Bergman, who graduated in December, was determined to get the credits he needed for his diploma after moving to Independence from Arizona, said Heather Whitmire, a secretary at the high school.
“He had a great personality and was very outgoing,” Whitmire said.