Fatal texting-while-driving crash brings 3-year prison sentence

Ethan Ellis (Greene County jail)
By  | 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A man from Bolivar got a three-year prison sentence on Friday for a fatal texting-while-driving crash on Missouri 13 three years ago. Ethan Ellis, 25, asked for probation but Circuit Judge Tom Mountjoy denied that request.

Ellis' southbound car ran into the back of a car driven by Robert "Bob" Jones, 71, of Brighton, on June 12, 2014. The crash was on Missouri 13 near Highway CC/BB, just north of Springfield's trash landfill north of the city. Both cars were southbound. Jones' car went off the road after the crash and he died. Troopers said Ellis was texting and speeding before the crash.

Ellis pleaded guilty to second-degree involuntary manslaughter on April 6, just days before his scheduled trial for first-degree involuntary manslaughter.

Jones ran a used car dealership along Missouri 13 just north of the crash. He was also known in the area because he was head coach for basketball, baseball and golf at local schools for several years. During that time he was also a teacher before he moved into school administration.