KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Blue Springs, Mo., attorney is charged with involuntary manslaughter after striking and killing a MoDOT worker Friday morning. The worker was assisting motorists who had been in a previous accident.
Prosecutors say David Murdick’s vehicle struck Clifton Scott on Interstate 70 just before 3 a.m. on Friday. According to court documents, he was operating that vehicle with a .184 blood-alcohol level.
Murdick is an attorney with The Sader Law Firm in Kansas City, Mo.
Scott worked as nighttime emergency response for Missouri Department of Transportation’s Motorist Assist program. It wasn’t unusual for him to respond to crashes and stranded drivers during the early morning hours. However, what was unusual Friday morning was that his fiancé couldn’t get ahold of him.
“I had a funny feeling because, like I said, I got to shaking,” Monique Banks explained.
She knew something was wrong.
“And then here come the breaking news," Banks said.
Reports surfaced on morning newscasts saying a motorist assist worker had been struck. She knew that news would change her life forever.
"When this person, whoever it was, when you seen you should have slowed your butt down, but you didn't. You done took my finance away," said Banks.
Independence Police spent hours reconstructing the fatal crash, where they say Scott had gotten out of his car to assist on a different accident.
“He'd help police secure crash scenes which was what he was doing this morning. He was keeping the scene safe for law enforcement so they could do their job,” explained MoDOT assistant district engineer Chris Redline.
Flags flew at half staff on Friday at MoDOT headquarters in honor of Scott.
Emergency responder jobs all share a high level of risk, especially at night on a readily traveled roadway.
“Even when you do the right thing, things can go horribly wrong very quickly,” said Tom Gentry, Independence Police spokesman.
Xavier Estell considers herself a "sister mom" to Scott because she helped raise him and his two brothers. On Friday, she was overcome with sadness but proud of her little brother.
“I consider him just like a police man, just like a fireman and EMS worker because he might be one of the first people on the scene," Estell said.
Scott’s family said he was an advocate for attentive driving, having seen the dangers of roads night after night. His death now serves as an example of what can go horribly wrong when someone does the opposite.
The Sader Law Firm, where Murdick works, released the following statement:
“Earlier today the Sader Law Firm was informed that one of our attorneys David Murdick was involved in a deadly auto accident. Our thoughts, concerns and prayers are first with the family and friends of the man killed. In particular, we also want to express our condolences to the Missouri Department of Transportation and all its members and their families on the loss of a fine individual and colleague, tragically killed in the line of duty. We have received information that Mr. Murdick has been charged for his role in the accident. Mr. Murdick began his employment with this firm Aug. 16, 2011. The status of his employment at this time is under review. Mr. Murdick's work as an attorney has been a credit to this firm and a benefit to his clients. Our firm expresses its deep regret and sadness to all affected by this tragedy.”
Scott celebrated 15 years of service with the department on Monday, according to MoDOT. His survivors include a fiancé, brother, sister and a 14-year-old son.
MoDOT confirms that all motorist assist operations in Kansas City are suspended for Friday.
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