Fatal accident: Driver jailed, facing negligent homicide charge

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Missouri woman died after a one-vehicle accident in Carroll County on Friday, June 22, and the driver of the vehicle is being held in the Carroll County Detention Center on multiple charges including negligent homicide.

According to a preliminary fatal crash summary from the Arkansas State Police, Neal S. Hagler, 19, of Berryville was driving a 2011 Chevrolet westbound on Carroll County Road 428 at 9:50 p.m. Friday when he failed to stop at the intersection of County Road 404 and struck a tree.

Destiny Mock, 20, a passenger in the vehicle, died Sunday at Cox Medical Center South in Springfield, Mo. The ASP report identifies Mock as a resident of Golden, Mo., but an obituary for Mock says she was a resident of Eagle Rock, Mo.

The state police report lists Hagler as being injured in the accident and transported to Cox South, but an affidavit from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office says Hagler was transported directly from the accident scene to the Carroll County Detention Center. The detention center intake log indicates that Hagler was booked into the jail at 11:20 p.m. Friday on charges of second-degree battery, driving on a suspended license due to driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence/underage, possession of a controlled substance, purchase or possession by a minor and reckless driving.

By Tuesday afternoon, the second-degree battery charge had been changed to negligent homicide.

Hagler had his first judicial appearance on Tuesday before Carroll County Circuit Judge Scott Jackson, who set bond at $50,000. In the event Hagler makes bond, additional conditions of his release are that he will be on house arrest with an ankle monitor and that he submit to weekly drug tests.

As of Thursday morning, Hagler remained in custody in the Carroll County Detention Center.

The CCSO affidavit, written by Deputy Corey Hall, reveals more details about the accident.

Hall writes that when he arrived at the scene of the accident, he found Mock in the passenger seat and that she appeared to be unable to exit the vehicle because her left leg was trapped. First responders were talking with Mock and she “appeared to be awake and answering,” Hall writes in the affidavit.

Hall writes that he approached the vehicle and saw Hagler walk around the vehicle, open the driver’s side door and get in. Hall instructed Hagler to exit the vehicle and walk to Hall’s patrol vehicle, the affidavit says.

“While near the vehicle, I noticed the odor of intoxicants,” Hall writes.

The affidavit says Hall asked Hagler what had happened, and Hagler said that he was driving down the road and hit his brakes, but the brakes did not stop the vehicle and it hit a tree. Hall writes that there were no apparent skid marks on the road and that he observed the odor of intoxicants coming from Hagler.

Hall writes that he checked with dispatch and was informed that Neal’s license was suspended due to driving while intoxicated.

Hall asked CCSO Deputy Kenneth Arant to perform standard field sobriety tests on Hagler, the affidavit says. Arant performed the tests and informed Hall that there were enough clues to indicate Neal was intoxicated, according to the affidavit. Hall then handcuffed Neal and placed him in his patrol vehicle, the affidavit says.

Returning to the wrecked vehicle, Hall writes that he observed Berryville Fire Department personnel cut the vehicle open to free Mock, who was then placed in an ambulance. Hall writes that he spoke with Mock and got her name and date of birth. The ambulance then transported Mock to the Carroll County Airport to be flown to a hospital, the affidavit says.

Hall then returned to his patrol vehicle, and Arant administered a portable breath test on Hagler, the affidavit says. The test indicated that Hagler’s blood alcohol content was 0.11 percent at approximately 10:30 p.m., according to the affidavit.

Hall and Arant found several empty beer bottles and several full bottles in the vehicle as well as a marijuana cigarette, the affidavit says.

Hall transported Hagler to the sheriff’s office, the affidavit says, and Deputy Lance Clark performed a breath alcohol content test on Hagler. Clark informed Hall that the test showed a result of 0.064, according to the affidavit.

Hall writes that he was informed on Sunday by a nurse at Cox South that Mock had been pronounced dead at 2:33 p.m. that day.

Included with Hall’s affidavit was a supplemental report written by Arant, who writes that during the field sobriety tests conducted at the accident scene, Hagler “was swaying very noticeable [sic] and the odor of an alcohol beverage on his breath was very strong and the odor of burnt marijuana was very strong.”

Arant writes that he and Hall found five unopened bottles of Coors beer in the vehicle and an empty 12-pack with several broken Michelob Ultra bottles and an unopened bottle of Michelob Ultra with lime.

“The odor of an alcoholic beverage was very strong in the vehicle along with the odor of marijuana,” Arant writes in his report.

Also included with the affidavit was an investigative report describing Neal’s interview with CCSO detective Leesa Dehm.

The investigative report says Hagler told Dehm he had picked Mock up at his home on Carroll County Road 455 between 3:30 and 4 p.m. the day of the accident. Neal told Dehm that he and Mock then went to Pension Mountain trail head, where they met “a couple other people” and sat and talked for some time. The group then went to the Piney Creek area “to hang out,” the report says. Mock told Hagler that she needed to use the bathroom, so they left the creek area and were headed to Hagler’s home, according to the report.

“Neal stated that when his truck hit the paved area he started to show off and accelerated quickly down a hill,” the report says. “Neal said that as he neared the top of the next hill, he knew he was driving too fast and pressed on his brakes. Neal said he knew he was traveling at least 60 mph at the bottom of the first hill but was unsure of exact speed once he topped the second hill.

“Neal stated when his vehicle reached the intersection, he could no longer see directly in front of him and it was as if his headlights were pointed into the air and he had no control of the front wheels,” the report says. “Neal stated right after impact he attempted to get Destiny out of the passenger side of the truck but was unable to get the door open. Neal said he kept trying to get Destiny out any way he could and Destiny had told him that her leg was stuck.”

The report says Dehm asked Hagler if he had been drinking on the night of the accident and he said he had drank two Coors Light Banquets and had started a third. Dehm asked Hagler whom he had gotten the beer from, according to the report, and he said he had gotten it from his house. Dehm also asked Hagler if he had any other illegal substances in the truck and he said no, the report says. When asked if he had smoked any marijuana, Hagler said he had not and that the marijuana found in the trick was not his, according to the report.

Hagler has been held in the Carroll County Detention Center on at least two previous occasions. Records indicate he was booked into the jail on Oct. 6, 2017, on a charge of failure to appear, and again on Nov. 30, 2017, on charges of speeding, purchase or possession by minor, driving on a suspended/revoked license and driving while intoxicated.

Berryville District Court records indicate that Hagler was found guilty of first-offense DWI and first-offense driving on a suspended or revoked license after the November arrest. He was sentenced to time served in the county jail and ordered to pay a total of $1,355 of fines, costs and fees and to attend DWI school.

Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Maj. George Frye said the CCSO is continuing to investigate the accident and no further details are available.

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