Fatal St. Robert wreck may not lead to charges, police say

Darrell Todd Maurina

SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (July 6, 2009) — While an early Sunday morning fatal crash remains under investigation, Detective Sgt. Doug Cooley of the St. Robert Police Department told city council members Monday evening that they don’t anticipate the same developments as happened following the city’s last fatal crash that killed Waynesville High School basketball coach Don Nelson.

“The fatality that took place yesterday of the pedestrian is still under investigation, but based on what I heard, no charges are expected against the driver,” Cooley said. “I just obtained this information earlier today from the traffic sergeant.”

According to state and local law enforcement reports, Ben William Schwab, 42, of St. Robert, had been walking across Missouri Avenue in St. Robert early Sunday morning when he was struck by a pickup at 2:15 a.m. driven by Edward Lee Horne Jr., 40, of Dixon.

Horne was an off-duty cab driver using his personal vehicle, not a company cab, Cooley said. According to a St. Robert police report, Horne was unable to see Schwab in time to avoid his vehicle striking Schwab, who sustained serious injuries from the impact.

Following the city council meeting, Cooley said a key part of the remaining investigation will be a toxicology report that will determine whether any alcohol, drugs, or prescription medicines were being used by Horne or Schwab. Those results could take weeks to get back from the state crime lab, Cooley said.

St. Robert’s last fatal crash happened on June 4 when Nelson was riding a motorcycle and was struck head-on by George Henry Widener, who according to police reports, was driving the wrong way on Old Route 66 in St. Robert in a Chevrolet Avalanche SUV. Widener was not hurt in the crash; Nelson was pronounced dead on the scene. Widener was subsequently charged with involuntary manslaughter.