Specifically, Elwyn admitted guilt to operating an automobile while under the influence of alcohol and with criminal negligence causing physical injury to a third person, the release stated.
The woman charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault stemming from a fatal crash while under the influence of alcohol that killed two has pled guilty and received a 15-year prison sentence, according to a press release from Miller County Prosecutor Ben Winfrey.
Carol A. Elwyn, 63, of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, pled guilty on December 1, 2017 in Laclede County Circuit Court to two counts of first degree involuntary manslaughter and one count second degree assault from a crash on June 3, 2016 that caused the death of two people from Eldon while injuring another.
Specifically, Elwyn admitted guilt to operating an automobile while under the influence of alcohol and with criminal negligence causing physical injury to a third person, the release stated. In exchange for pleading guilty to all three charges, the state recommended the sentences be served concurrently.
Elwyn was sentenced to 15 years in prison on each charge of manslaughter and seven years for assault. Concurrent sentences mean the sentences are all served at the same time as opposed to consecutively which count separately.
"Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Winfrey wishes to express his condolences to the victims and their families for their very great loss. There is no adequate legal remedy for the damage caused by Defendant Elwyn and we hope disposition of this criminal case will help bring some sense of peace to all involved and the community," the release concluded.
A case review hearing was held on November 6 at which time Winfrey and a defense attorney representing Elwyn agreed to proceed with a plea hearing. That hearing had been scheduled for December 1 at 10 a.m. in Laclede County after the case was transferred from Miller County.
A four-day trial had initially been scheduled to begin this fall before a change of venue and judge were granted. Senior Circuit Judge Stan Moore presided over the case. Osage Beach attorneys John Curran and Terry Ray Hyten represented the defendant in the criminal court proceedings.
On Friday, June 3, 2016, at approximately 11:48 p.m., Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F officers responded to a crash on eastbound US-54 at Walnut Grove involving a black Honda Ridgeline pickup bearing a Hawaii registration and a black Pontiac Grand Am bearing a Missouri registration, both displaying extensive front end damage, according to the probable cause statement obtained by the Lake Sun.
Elwyn was the only occupant of the Honda and she was pinned up against the steering wheel due to vehicle damage, but appeared to be stable, alert and conscious, according to one of the responding officers.
“It was immediately obvious the front seat passenger, later identified as Travis A. Davolt, date of birth August 6, 1977, and rear seat passenger, later identified as Dominic A. Delong, date of birth January 1, 2004 were dead,” according to the court document. “The driver, later identified as Dalton A. Delong, date of birth April 29, 1999, had sustained life-threatening injuries and was not conscious, but was breathing.”
First responders transported Delong to Lake Regional Hospital where he was stabilized and then transferred to University Hospital in Columbia. Travis Davolt and Dominic Delong were pronounced deceased by Miller County Coroner Rick Callahan at approximately 12:45 a.m. June 4 and transported to Phillips Funeral Home in Eldon. According to the probable cause statement, a Miller County deputy and a Lake Ozark firefighter advised the MSHP trooper that “they could smell a ‘strong’ odor of intoxicants coming from the driver of the Honda.”
“While speaking with Elwyn, I noticed a moderate odor of intoxicants coming from her breath. I also noticed her eyes were bloodshot and glassy. She also had slurred speech. I asked Elwyn what happened and she indicated she was headed home from work, Shawnee Bluff Winery, and the car hit head-on,” the investigator wrote in the statement. Elwyn stated she was living at Emerald Bay on Horseshoe Bend Parkway.
The odor of intoxicants intensified upon transporting Elwyn to a nearby ambulance to be treated for injuries, the officer stated, though Elwyn stated she had been working at the winery and had not been drinking. Elwyn indicated she would submit to a preliminary breath test, but complained of chest pain and “it was obvious Elwyn refused to provide a valid sample of her breath,” the officer wrote.
At approximately 12:19 a.m. on June 4, 2016, Elwyn was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated and her blood was drawn twice over the next couple of hours, the first time at 12:26 a.m. and again at 1:54 a.m., according to the court document. A total of three witnesses to the crash were identified, including one woman who told police she had witnessed the Honda coming toward her so she pulled over to the side of the road and saw the vehicle crash into the Pontiac through her rear view mirror.
In addition to the criminal charges, a wrongful death suit has also been filed by the Davolt and Delong families against Elwyn and Shawnee Bluff Winery. Attorney Michael E. McCausland, representing Elwyn in the civil case, has filed a request for a jury trial as well as a cross claim against Shawnee Bluff seeking to hold the business partially liable if damages are awarded against the defendant.
The criminal case is expected to be resolved before the civil case proceeds through court.