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Mother and son charged with stealing from road district

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Authorities say a mother and son, both connected with the Parkville Special Road District, teamed up to steal materials valued at up to $3,500 from the road district.

Brenda Teters, of Riverside, age 75, and her son, Kurt Eckard, of Smithville, age 50, are charged with felony stealing of reclaimed road millings that were transported onto private property, specifically a lot where the family has a fireworks stand in Riverside.

The road millings are valued at $2,500 to $3,500.

Teters serves as a publicly elected commissioner of the road district. Eckard is on the public works crew for the road district.

For Eckard, this is the second time he has been charged with a felony in his duties with the Parkville Special Road District. In April of this year, Eckard entered into a plea agreement under which he pled guilty to receiving stolen property. Under terms of the plea deal, Eckard was sentenced to five years probation, 150 hours of community service and had to pay restitution to the district. Authorities say in that crime, Eckard made more than $2,500 in personal purchases with road district funds. Those purchases were made at auto parts stores.

In the latest crime, for which both were charged on Tuesday, authorities say Teters instructed her son to deliver all the reclaimed road millings from a scheduled project in the Misty Woods subdivision of southern Platte County to a vacant lot in Riverside, leased by Eckard, for a fireworks stand.

Court papers indicate that Teters, in her role as a road district commissioner, last November ordered Terry L. Swearngin, road district superintendent, to take all the millings to her private fireworks lot, Dishonest Don’s, in Riverside. Feeling uncomfortable about the order from his employer, Swearngin contacted the special road district attorney, John Cady. According to court documents, the attorney advised Swearngin not to comply with the order, telling him the millings were the property of the road district and had real monetary value. To divert the material for private use would be stealing, according to court papers.

Then in March of this year after the project was underway, Teters contacted Swearngin for a third time, directing him to deliver the millings to the lot in Riverside. Swearngin refused, advising her he had contacted the road district attorney and had been advised not to deliver the material to her lot.

According to the allegations, Teters than advised Swearngin to disregard per previous instructions, telling Swearngin she would have her son, Kurt, employed by the road district, to “do what he does and take care of it.”

Authorities say on April 18, a dump truck delivered 10 to 12 loads, equal to about 200 to 240 tons of millings valued at $12.69 per ton, to the fireworks lot in Riverside. The loads “were diverted by Eckard to the fireworks lot in Riverside,” according to the allegations.

The April 18 action came just a few days after Eckard had entered his plea deal for his previous felony charge, avoiding jail time and accepting the deal of five years probation.

Court documents allege that Eckard, acting upon the request of his mother, had approached a representative of the Superior Bowen Asphalt Company, Steve Trotter, and knowing he had no authority to do so, ordered the diversion of 200 to 240 tons of gravel millings. The gravel millings had been reclaimed from a road district resurfacing project to his family’s private fireworks lot in Riverside.

Trotter told authorities he did not question the order because he recognized Eckard as a road district inspector from previous years.

Trotter also told authorities that Eckard had regularly diverted millings from various job to his Riverside fireworks stand, however, this year the location was different.
Trotter told authorities he found the deliveries questionable but when he asked Eckard about the deliveries was told his mother was in charge of the road district and that gave her authority to redirect the material.

Both Teters and Eckard were booked on the charges Tuesday. Bond for Eckard was set at $10,000 cash or surety. Bond for Teters was set at $7,500 cash or surety. Both of them posted bond. Court dates have not yet been set.