An Illinois man on the Miller County Sheriff’s Office Most Wanted List has been located and arrested by authorities in Sterling, Illinois.
Daniel A. Burch was captured August 31, 2018 due to tips from citizens, according to a Facebook post by the Miller County Sheriff’s Office.
The 66-year-old from Elizabeth, Illinois is charged in Miller County, Missouri with two counts of second degree involuntary manslaughter from a double fatality motor vehicle collision in the Lake Ozark area on April 8, 2015. A Class D felony, the charge alleges negligent homicide by motor vehicle.
The crash occurred on Westbound US Highway 54 before Route W.
While the multi-vehicle crash occurred in 2015, the charges were not filed until May 12, 2016. A commercial truck driver at the time of the crash, Burch has been on the Most Wanted List for several months.
Eldon residents Robin L. Dinwiddie, 50, and Kenda L. O’Leary, 27, were killed the crash, both occupants of a 2004 Pontiac Vibe that was struck in the rear by the 2007 Freightliner driven by Burch.
According to the probable cause statement completed by the investigating Missouri state trooper, Burch was allegedly driving in a careless and imprudent manner. Multiple witness statements indicated the Freightliner kept driving onto the shoulder over the rumble strips and then cross the back over the centerline.
Burch allegedly admitted to police that he did strike the rumble strip multiple times prior to the crash.
As the Freightliner approached the signaled intersection of Highways 54 and W, it was allegedly traveling 60 to 65 miles per hour on cruise control. As Burch began to brake for traffic ahead, he allegedly claimed his foot slipped off the brake pedal, turned at an angle and go caught on something. Supposedly unable to remove his foot from under/between the brake and gas pedal, Burch said the cruise control was still activated for about five to 10 seconds. By the time he freed his foot, it was too late and he struck the Pontiac stopped at the light.
The collision set off a chain reaction, pushing vehicles forward and causing an eight-vehicle pileup.
Robin Dinwiddie and Kenda O’Leary were pronounced dead at the scene. In a Saturn Outlook, Amy L. Shaw of Jefferson City was seriously injured. James A. Villines of Springdale, Alabama in a Dodge pickup and April Cline of Eldon in a Ford Focus both received injuries described as moderate. The Nissan Pathfinder driven by Stephen Gifford of Linn Creek was totaled, but he was uninjured. James Stark of Waynesville in another Freightliner and Warner Bullock of Springfield, Missouri in a Ford E. Series van were also not injured.
The court document notes that Burch had a previous outstanding citation from Lebanon, Missouri for careless and imprudent operation in which he passed another vehicle in a no passing zone and nearly ran it off the road.
The state trooper asked Burch why didn’t use his other foot to activate the brake or clutch, and Burch allegedly responded that he didn’t think of it at the time as it all happened so fast.
Burch provided his cell phone to the investigator to check possible use during the incident. The court document notes that the investigator did not immediately observe any calls around the time of the crash. The type of phone he owned however was the type that allows incoming and outgoing calls to be deleted.
Burch was arrested and placed on a 24-hour hold at the Miller County jail.
In the aftermath of the crash, the Miller County Prosecuting Attorney stated that it had not filed charges pending the completion of the investigation.
On September 6, 2018, the Miller County Sheriff’s Office declined to release any more information about the arrest.
At least two lawsuits had been filed against Burch related to the crash — Kenneth Dinwiddie for wrongful death, Amy Shaw and Byron Shaw for personal injury. Both suits were dismissed in the fall of 2016.