Meerwald, the driver 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, was already awaiting trial in McDonald County Circuit Court on a DWI charge when the Joplin Police Department arrested him May 3.
According to the probable cause statement, written by Officer Arthur Brophy, an 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/glassyMeerwald was placed under result after a preliminary breath test revealed he had been drinking. He later refused to take a chemical breath test.