A man accused of driving drunk at a speed above 95 miles per hour is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a young Platte City woman.
John A. McNamara, 27, who court papers indicate is a resident of Kansas City in Platte County, also faces a charge of assault for injuries he caused to another Platte City woman in the same traffic accident.
McNamara this week is in custody in the Platte County Jail, with a cash-only bond set at $250,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 31.
Killed in the two-car crash that occurred early Sunday morning was Abby Cockrill, 22, of Platte City. Cockrill was pronounced dead at the scene. She was a passenger in a 2006 Pontiac G6 driven by Megan Wagoner, 22, of Platte City. Wagoner suffered injuries that the Highway Patrol report classifies as minor. Her injuries were described as cuts and abrasions to her arms and legs. She was treated and released at North Kansas City Hospital.
McNamara suffered moderate injuries.
The wreck occurred at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday as both vehicles were northbound on Interstate 29 in Platte County near Tiffany Springs Parkway.
According to a report by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, McNamara was traveling at a speed estimated to be at least 95 miles per hour. The report indicates his 2010 Chevrolet Camaro struck the Pontiac in the rear, causing the Pontiac to travel off the right side of the road and overturn.
McNamara’s car overturned on to its top and traveled about 1,000 feet on the roadway before traveling off the right side of the interstate and coming to rest on its wheels.
The report indicates both Cockrill and Wagoner were wearing seatbelts, while indicating McNamara’s safety belt status as unknown.
McNamara was transported to Liberty Hospital for treatment. While there, he was interviewed by Highway Patrol Sgt. B.E. Kelly.
Court papers indicate McNamara told authorities at the hospital that “I was behind them and my right front hit their left rear. It caused me to go to the left.”
Asked why he did not see the other vehicle, McNamara responded that he did not know. McNamara told the officer that he was wearing his seat belt at the time.
The trooper says McNamara showed signs of intoxication, and that he refused to submit to a preliminary breath test. At about 3:30 a.m. authorities requested McNamara to submit to a chemical test of his blood. McNamara then asked to speak to an attorney. He was provided with phone numbers and a phone.
McNamara first called a friend and then attempted to contact two attorneys without success. At about 4:30 a.m., another request that he submit to a chemical blood test was again refused.
“I informed McNamara I would be showing him as a refusal,” Sgt. Kelly wrote in his statement of probable cause.
While still at the hospital in Liberty, Sgt. Kelly contacted the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office in an effort to be authorized a search warrant affidavit for McNamara’s blood. The search warrant was signed by Clay County Judge Donald Norris at about 5:15 a.m.
Sgt. Kelly then returned to the hospital and obtained two samples of McNamara’s blood, one at 6:15 a.m. and another at 7:15 a.m.
“The blood will eventually be transported to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Laboratory in Jefferson City for analysis,” Sgt. Kelly said in court documents.
If convicted of first degree involuntary manslaughter, McNamara faces up to 15 years in prison. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of second degree assault.
A press release issued by the prosecutor’s office referred to McNamara as “a Michigan man,” though court records indicate his address as the 6300 block of N. London Ave., Kansas City in Platte County.
Abby Cockrill was a 2006 graduate of Plattte County R-3 High School, where she had been an honor student. She was currently attending Northwest Missouri State University and was scheduled to graduate with honors in December with a degree in early childhood development.
She had just begun student teaching at Siegrist Elementary School in Platte City, and had recently accepted a position as youth minister at her church. She was a volunteer for Special Olympics.
Her mother, Diana, is a familiar face in the local business community as branch manager at the BankLiberty location in Platte City.
A complete obituary for Abby Cockrill can be found in Section B of this issue of The Landmark.