Monday, May 06, 2019

Observant off-duty JPD officer's call leads to arrest of drunk driver who killed Joplin 8-year-old, Neosho man

An off-duty Joplin Police Department officer's call led to the drunk driving arrest Friday of
Edward Meerwald, 64, Noel, who is already awaiting trial in McDonald County Circuit Court on another DWI charge.

Meerwald, who is charged with felony driving while intoxicated as a persistent offender, was behind the wheel on July 30, 2004, when he ran off the road and killed eight-year-old Jessica Mann of Joplin and her grandfather, Jim Dodson, 69, Neosho.

According to the probable cause statement, written by Officer Arthur Brophy, the off-duty officer came across Meerwald at Hideout Harley Davidson, 5014 S. Main, and saw signs that he had been drinking.

As Meerwald was leaving the store, he was stumbling and staggering as he walked toward the front door. Upon opening the door, Meerwald almost fell onto the ground. The officer informed me of the male and advised if he were to leave while operating a vehicle he needed to be stopped immediately. 
I observed (Meerwald) driving his 2016 Chevrolet Colorado eastbound out of the parking lot. I initiated an investigative traffic stop on the vehicle and made contact with Meerwald. I observed a strong odor of intoxicatns coming from his person and his eyes to be bloodshot/glassy.

Meerwald was placed under result after a preliminary breath test revealed he had been drinking. He later refused to take a chemical breath test.

Meerwald's alleged drunk driving was not the only apparent violation of the conditions laid out by Newton County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Selby, who was assigned Meerwald's drunk driving case in McDonald County after his lawyer asked that Judge Gregory Stremel be removed.

Meerwald had initially been under house arrest after posting a reduced bond, but after a motion from Meerwald's lawyer, Selby modified the conditions of his bond to allow him to travel to church, the doctor's office and work.

Selby's order made no mention of allowing trips to Hideout Harley Davidson.

Meerwald is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning in Newton County Circuit Court with Judge Anna Christine Rhoades presiding.

Meerwald's next hearing on the earlier drunk driving charge is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday in McDonald County Circuit Court with Selby presiding.


Anonymous said...

WHY is he not in prison for life? He took 2 lives. He continues to endanger others.
No more second chances. Lock him up and throw away the keys.

Anonymous said...

Meerwald is habitual offender, part of this mess needs to be put on Judge Selby for allowing a convicted felon to roam the streets and put innocent lives in danger. It's time Judges answer to be accountable.