Breaking News
More () »

Former Jefferson County deputy charged with DWI in crash that killed his wife

A toxicology test performed at the hospital following the crash indicated Colby McCreary had a blood alcohol content of .17%.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — A former Jefferson County sheriff's deputy was charged Tuesday with driving while intoxicated in the April 30 crash that killed his wife.

"Sheriff Dave Marshak regretfully announces criminal charges against former Deputy Colby McCreary," the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said in a Tuesday news release.

McCreary was arrested on charges of DWI resulting in death and first-degree involuntary manslaughter. He was booked Tuesday at the Jefferson County Jail and released on $10,000 surety bond.

McCreary was off-duty at the time of the early-morning crash that took the life of his wife, Savannah McCreary. 

According to the sheriff's office, deputies learned on April 30 of a single-vehicle crash that would likely become fatal. Jefferson County Lt. Col. Tim Whitney called the Festus police chief to inquire about the crash and was told Festus officers had finished the investigation and that the driver showed no signs of impairment. No sheriff's office employees were on the scene of the crash while the victims were present, the sheriff's office said.

“I have read the probable cause affidavit completed by the Highway Patrol,” Marshak said. “The information contained is substantially different than what we were told on April 30. The allegations are disheartening and, if true, are not consistent with our values and expectations of our employees.”

Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

According to MSHP's probable cause statement, the crash happened on Interstate 55 near Manley Quarry Road within Festus city limits. 

McCreary was driving a Jeep Cherokee with his wife in the passenger seat when they exited the roadway, struck a rock embankment and overturned. Both were ejected, and the Jeep came to rest on its passenger side. According to the crash report, there were no skid marks on the road.

The McCrearys were rushed to Mercy Hospital South, where Savannah McCreary was later pronounced dead.

Two witnesses in another car saw the Jeep drift off the roadway and overturn in the ditch.

According to crash data retrieved from the Jeep, its top speed was 87 mph five seconds prior to impact.

Witnesses told police that Colby McCreary had been drinking alcohol in the hours prior to the crash and also identified him as the driver, the probable cause statement said.

A toxicology test performed at the hospital following the crash indicated Colby McCreary had a blood alcohol content of .17%. He was diagnosed with alcohol intoxication in addition to his injuries from the crash.

The office said that a fundraiser for the McCrearys' children, which "began as a collaboration of community members with the best intentions," would be postponed in light of the recent information. The office said it would work with community volunteers and sponsors to determine the best path forward to support the children.

“We feel for everyone affected by this loss,” Marshak said.

Festus Police Chief Douglas Wendel released a statement regarding the charges Wednesday. It reads, in part:

The Festus Police Department fully stands behind the actions of our officers on the scene of the crash. It was a very hectic, rapidly evolving scene, with many moving parts. Preserving life and maintaining traffic control to ensure a safe scene were at the forefront of our officers' actions. Upon speaking with investigators with the Highway Patrol the actions of our officers were not called into question.

I stand by my original statement to Sheriff Marshak that no signs of impairment were observed at the scene. The statement was not made to "mislead" anyone as it was a true statement at the time. It wasn't until days later that we received additional information leading us to believe alcohol may be involved and we immediately requested further help from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Our agency was the one that requested additional investigatory help from the MSHP to maintain "transparency" with this accident. The MSHP has specialized Accident Reconstruction Teams and resources to download vehicle computer data in an accident such as this.

We would like to thank the Missouri State Highway Patrol for their professionalism and for aiding us in a time of need.

We would also like to express that we are saddened by the loss of life in such a tragedy, which has negatively impacted the lives of so many.

To watch 5 On Your Side broadcasts or reports 24/7, 5 On Your Side is always streaming on 5+. Download for free on Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

Before You Leave, Check This Out