Jackson County prosecutors on Tuesday accused a man of smoking marijuana before he lost control of his girlfriend’s car last year, causing a wreck that killed her 1-year-old daughter.
Prosecutors charged Eric L. Gahagans, 23, of Kansas City with involuntary manslaughter, driving without a license and possession of a controlled substance in connection with the July 28 death of Cheekeerah Miracle-Jones. Gahagans was not in custody.
Gahagans told police he and his girlfriend spent the night in her car at “lookout point” in Kansas City, and he was driving them home when he fell asleep. He woke up just as the car drove off the side of the ramp from eastbound Interstate 470 to Blue Ridge Boulevard. The vehicle went “airborne like movie (expletive),” Gahagans told police, and fell onto railroad tracks below, throwing all three occupants out of the vehicle.
Cheekeerah was not properly secured in her car seat, and the car seat was not properly secured in the vehicle, according to court records. Police found the girl on the railroad tracks. She died at a hospital the next day.
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A reconstruction of the wreck showed the vehicle left the roadway, hit a traffic sign and continued for 315 feet before launching off the embankment. Police found no evidence of braking or steering over the rough terrain.
Blood tests showed Gahagans had used marijuana prior to the wreck.
Police arrested Gahagans on an unrelated matter in September and found he had a blue pill in his pocket that turned out to be methamphetamine.