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Tonganoxie father who killed his son in drunk driving crash sentenced to 11 years in prison

Prison Bars
Posted at 8:12 PM, May 31, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Leavenworth County, Kansas, judge sentenced a man Friday to just over 11 years in prison for a drunk driving crash that killed his son.

A jury found Shane Degraeve guilty on April 4 of second degree murder, three counts of aggravated endangering of a child and driving under the influence in a pickup truck crash that killed his nine-year-old son, according to a news release from the Leaveworth County Attorney's Office.

The crash happened on Sept. 4, 2022,

The deadly wreck happened as DeGraeve drove his 2022 GMC Sierra 3500 pickup truck in the area of Easton Road and Kansas 92 Highway.

The investigation showed Degraeve was driving over 70 mph when his pickup truck went into a ditch, struck a sign and rolled over.

A nine-year-old boy in the front passenger seat was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the truck.

He died a short time later.

Two other children in the backseat were treated at a hospitals for non life-threatening injuries.

Degraeve, who showed signs of impairment at the crash site, told officers he was run off the road.

But his story did not match witness statements and evidence at the scene.

He also told officers he drank one beer, but his blood alcohol level came back above the legal limit in Kansas, according to the news release.

"Our hearts go out to the families involved in this incident," Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said Friday in the news release. " DeGraeve's responsibilities as a father include adhering to traffic laws, avoiding driving under the influence, and ensuring the safety of his children."

His pickup truck had two seat belt 'silencers,' which prevented the passengers from buckling into the vehicle.

“Seatbelt silencers, sometimes used in vehicles, may pose a greater risk than benefit, as in this case, where one contributed to a child not wearing his seatbelt and tragically losing his life," Thompson said.