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Driver not charged in crash that left 2 MoDOT workers dead

The driver suffered a medical emergency before the crash, according to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell.

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis County grand jury has declined to charge the driver in a November 2021 crash that left two MoDOT workers dead, one of which was pregnant.

James Brooks, 58, and 25-year-old Kaitlyn Anderson were working on Telegraph Road when a car drove through the traffic cones and hit them. They were pronounced dead at the scene. Anderson was pregnant and her unborn child also died. 

A third worker was seriously injured in the crash. 

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell announced in a statement Thursday morning that the driver of that car is not being charged.

Bell said he’s limited in what he can say about the decision but given the media coverage and interest from the public, he felt “compelled to offer some explanation.”

Bell went on to explain the driver’s medical records showed no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the crash, even though 911 callers suspected he was a drunk driver. His phone records also showed he wasn’t using it while driving.

According to Bell’s statement, the driver is a diabetic and was suffering from a medical emergency due to “a sudden drop in his blood glucose level.” Medical experts said this resulted in a “sudden loss of brain function” similar to how a person acts while heavily intoxicated.

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A medical specialist reviewed the driver’s medical records which showed a diagnosis of hypoglycemia unawareness. This diagnosis was not given to the driver before the crash, according to Bell. The medical specialist said the diagnosis explains why the driver wasn’t aware that his blood glucose was dropping before the crash.

Bell said the driver had also been in a similar crash months earlier in August 2021. Fortunately, the individuals in that crash survived.

Bell said his office has no evidence that any medical professional advised him not to operate a vehicle.

"While we do not believe that the surviving victim or the families of those who lost their lives will believe justice has been served, we accept and respect the grand jury's decision," Bell said in the statement.

The family of Anderson said they are particularly upset with the decision. 

"We have no choice but to accept that there will be no justice criminally for our families," Anderson's aunt Tabatha Moore said. 

Since the accident, the family said the driver hasn't reached out directly to offer condolences. 

"In seven months you haven't found it in you as a human being to say the words I'm sorry to our family," Moore said. 

Since the driver had a similar medical incident months before, without injury, Moore questions why he was behind the wheel in November. 

Anderson's family is also not satisfied with Bell's office, feeling prosecutors didn't do enough to get justice for her niece and unborn son Jaxx. 

Moore also feels MoDOT didn't do enough to protect crews. The aunt said equipment that insulates workers from runaway drivers was not on Telegraph Road that day. 

"If (MoDOT) did what was right, November 18 would've come and gone and their employees would've walked away in one piece from that accident."

The path for criminal justice is done, the family said they are still in the process of filing Civil Suits.

The family is also working with leaders in Jefferson City to get more accountability and protection on job sites said Moore. 

"She was beautiful, she was perfect," Moore said describing Kaitlyn. "she'd do anything for anybody, even if it was difficult or would take time."

After Kaitlyn struggled to get pregnant, the family and mother-to-be were excited about the arrival of Jaxx. 

"From the day she was pregnant she was so in love, so in love," Moore said. 

To carry on her legacy the family created "Kaits Love For Jaxx Foundation" which sends care packages to grieving families across the country. 

Credit: Family photo
Kaitlyn Anderson


Credit: Handout
James Brooks

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