Persistent DWI offender, convicted in 2004 fatal crash, is sentenced in recent DWI
MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — Edward Meerwald, of Noel, Missouri, recently appeared in court for two recent DWI cases. He entered a plea bargain in both.
A judge sentenced Meerwald to four years in prison for a May 2019 DWI Persistent charge. Meerwald is scheduled to be sentenced for a June 2018 DWI Persistent charge on January 30th, 2020.
DWI case history for Meerwald
2004: Jessica Mann, 7, and her 69-year-old grandfather, James Dodson, were walking to the mailbox at Dodson’s home on Highway 86 in Neosho, Missouri when Meerwald hit them. Meerwald plead guilty on March 11th, 2005, to Involuntary Manslaughter – Vehicular – Intoxicated . A judge ordered him to spend 14 years in prison. The courts released Meerwald early in November 2013 and a judge restored his driving privileges in January 2017. He was discharged from parole on February 1st, 2017, according to the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office.
A Missouri Law, nicknamed “Jessica’s Law,” was created in honor of Mann and her grandfather. It was signed into law in 2005 by then Governor Matt Blunt. It modifies several definitions, including “persistent offender,” and increases the penalties for manslaughter involving drunk drivers.
2018: On June 17th, a Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper arrested Meerwald for driving while intoxicated and for speeding. The arrested happened on MO 59 south of Split Log Road in McDonald County. The courts filed a charge of DWI-Persistent .
According to court documents, Meerwald was put on house arrest after making bond. At a later date, the court held a hearing to modify his house arrest that would have allowed him to go to church and work. But according to the McDonald County Courts, the judge has not signed that order. Click here for Probable Cause in case
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