Officials: Man charged in drunk driving crash that killed firefighter, injured officer

Kody Skaggs was charged with DWI resulting in death and DWI resulting in injury. (Courtesy:...
Published: Apr. 2, 2023 at 3:56 PM CDT
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WRIGHT COUNTY, Mo. (KYTV/Gray News) - A Missouri man was charged Sunday in a fatal crash that killed a firefighter and injured a police officer.

The Wright County prosecutor said 21-year-old Kody Skaggs was charged with DWI resulting in death and DWI resulting in serious injuries.

On Saturday morning, Justin Sanders and Michael Shane Bryson were sitting in a Ford pickup truck participating in a ride-along and performing traffic surveillance in Mansfield, Missouri.

KYTV reports Skaggs was driving a GMC pickup truck when he crossed the center of the road and hit Sanders and Bryson. Officials said Sanders died on the scene. Bryson was taken to a hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

Mansfield Police Chief Tim Stuart said Bryson is out of the ICU and is scheduled for surgery.

“This accident was completely 100% avoidable,” Stuart said.

Stuart has been on the force for years and says he’s never experienced a loss like this. He says he has known Sanders for many years.

“I mean, Justin Sanders, you’d be hard, hard-pressed to find a better individual. He was a great guy and a great friend,” he said.

Stuart says Bryson and his family have conveyed their thoughts and prayers toward the Sanders family, as Justin was a close friend to them as well.

Funeral and visitation arrangements for Sanders have been made for this week, according to the Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home.

Skaggs is held on a $50,000 cash bond with special conditions, according to Wright County Sheriff Sonny Byerley.