A Blue Springs man has been charged for allegedly being drunk when he struck and killed a highway worker early Friday morning on Interstate 70 in eastern Jackson County.
David C. Murdick, 35, faces charges of a class B felony of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree.
According to court documents, Murdick was driving drunk at a high rate of speed when he crashed through cones, ignored other warnings and barriers and struck Clifton Scott. Court records said Murdick had a .184 BAC when police tested him, a blood alcohol content over double the legal limit for Missouri.
Scott, 50, was working to block off part of the interstate after an earlier crash when Murdick's car plowed into his truck.
At the Missouri Department of Transportation district headquarters, there is a list of names of those who've died on the job. The total is at 131, and Scott's name will soon be added to it.
Rusty James supervised Scott and reflected on the man who lost his life trying to keep others safe.
"We're like a family and they're devastated. It's rough," James said.
Scott celebrated 15 years of service with MoDOT on Monday. By Friday, he was dead, hit by a Honda Accord whose impact also caused his work truck to explode in flames.
Scott had been redirecting traffic following a four-car pileup at the Interstate 70/ Highway 291 interchange when it happened just before 3 a.m.
"He had a truck with the very best emergency lighting. We had a second truck there, again with the very best in emergency lighting and we had a police car sitting there. We had cones and flares set up. We had visibility for over three-fourths of a mile, our equipment was visible. I really don't know what else we could have done," James said.
The Move Over Law that protected emergency workers running blue and red lights expanded just last month to include road crews running amber and white lights, but that law had little impact in this case.
"We've lost someone who not only was a great employee, but he was a good friend. He was dedicated. He was professional. He was just a great guy. And you can't replace people. You can fill a spot, but you never replace the people," James said.
Meanwhile, all MoDOT buildings will be flying their flags at half staff until Scott's funeral. A date for that has not been set.
Scott leaves behind a fiancee who'd been with him for six years, sister, brother, 14-year-old son and at least one niece who was very close to him.
His family wants to be sure Scott's name is remembered.
"He was a man of integrity. He was a man of humanity. There are so many descriptive words," Xavier Estelle, Scott's sister, said.
Estelle is Scott's sister by birth and mother by circumstance because her mother died when Clifton was six.
"I'm still in shock. I'm thinking I'm dreaming. I wish this was a dream because the reality is killing me," Monique Banks, Scott's fiancee, said.
While Scott recently celebrated many years of service with MoDOT, that job was just a paying outlet for the thing that gave him pleasure, like helping people.
"Anytime you needed help, if he saw it, he came and he did it," Estelle said. "Anybody couldn't cut the grass, he would cut the grass with a push mower. I love him, I'm going to miss him, I hurt for him."
She had mixed feelings about the man behind the wheel but clear feelings about the message she hopes the whole thing sends to those who would consider driving after a drink.
"Don't do it. Love yourself. If you can't love yourself, love the people that brought you here, love your family that care about you so that you won't hurt nobody," Estelle said.
Murdick works as an attorney at Sader Law Firm near Pershing Road and Grand Boulevard in Kansas City, MO. They released a statement about the early morning events:
"Earlier today the Sader law firm was informed that one of our attorneys was involved in a deadly automobile accident. Our thoughts, concerns and prayers are first with family of the gentleman killed. Also want to express condolences to the Missouri Department of Transportation on the loss of a fine individual that was tragically killed in the line of duty. We have received information that David Murdick has been charged for a role in the accident. Mr. Murdick's employment began Aug. 16, 2011. Status of his employment at this time is under review. Murdick's work as an attorney has been a credit to this firm and clients. Our firm expresses deep regret and sadness to all affected by this tragedy. "
Prosecutors requested Murdick's bond be set at $75,000 cash.
Click here for a list of MoDOT workers being remembered after they were killed in the line of duty.
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