A Kansas City, Mo. man pleaded guilty last week in Platte County court for killing another man while speeding and under the influence of drugs.
The Platte County Prosecutor’s Office plans to recommend a 10-year sentence for Anthony Battaglia, although defense attorneys could seek to reduce the punishment as low as probation. He continues to be held in the Platte County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance.
Battaglia faces sentencing on June 11.
“Even though the drugs in this defendant’s system are legal when prescribed, it’s still illegal to drive when impaired by them,” Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd said. “Sadly, a beloved husband, father, and grandfather is dead because of the defendant’s irresponsible actions.”
According to court documents, Battaglia’s GMC Yukon left the road and rear-ended a Chevrolet Malibu parked on the shoulder with its flashers on near I-435 and Highway 152 in Platte County on the night of February 10, 2014.
Donald G. Rippy, the driver of the Malibu, was transported to North Kansas City Hospital and pronounced dead. The passenger of the Malibu was also transported to North Kansas City Hospital for treatment.
Missouri State Highway Patrol officers noted that Battaglia appeared disoriented and confused at the scene, and he was arrested while investigators obtained a search warrant. Eventually, multiple samples of suspected prescription drugs were found and collected inside his vehicle.
According to the vehicle’s “black box,” Battaglia’s vehicle was travelling at 82 miles per hour just before impact and at 78 miles per hour at impact. An analysis of Battaglia’s blood showed it contained amphetamine, alprazolam, carisoprodol, hydroxybuproprion, and meprobamate – all substances found in legal prescription drugs that Battaglia had not been prescribed.
“It’s appropriate that this man serve time in prison for his crimes,” Zahnd said. “Even though the defendant did not intend on killing anyone, the fact remains that Mr. Rippy was tragically taken from his family because the defendant chose to drive well over the speed limit while under the influence of a cocktail of prescription drugs.”