Grain Valley man pleads guilty in fatal crash

Jesse Gleason
Jesse Gleason

A Grain Valley man has pleaded guilty in the traffic death last year of an Independence teenager.

Jesse Gleason pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree involuntary manslaughter in the May 2015 death of Philip Bergman, 19.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Marco Roldan sentenced Gleason to seven years in prison.

According to court records, an SUV driven by Gleason, 32, collided with a vehicle driven by Bergman in the northbound lanes of Blue Parkway near Interstate 470 in Lee’s Summit. Bergman died at the scene.

According to court records, Gleason failed to stop at a red light and his vehicle entered the intersection of Blue Parkway and the I-470 off-ramp at high speed. It struck Bergman’s vehicle on the driver’s side as it began to turn south with a green light onto Blue Parkway.

Witnesses 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.

Gleason was treated at a hospital for his injuries. 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.

Social media posts described Bergman as a recent Truman High School graduate who was interested in music and cosmetology.

Brian Burnes: 816-234-4120, @BPBthree

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