A misdemeanor charge has been filed against the truck driver involved in the 2017 crash that killed West Platte High School head football coach Nate Danneman.
Carl D. Braddock, 64, of Geneva, Neb. has been charged with one count of careless and imprudent driving in the April 19, 2017 crash on Interstate 29 near Camden Point. A warrant for Braddock’s arrest was issued by Platte County Circuit Court judge Dennis Eckold Thursday, Feb. 8, but as of press time he is not yet in custody in Missouri. Braddock’s bond is set at $10,000, cash only.
According to court documents, Braddock was behind the wheel of a 2014 Frieghtliner tractor trailer, traveling northbound on I-29 in the right lane. He lost control of the truck and traveled off the right shoulder. He overcorrected, and the vehicle veered into the left lane and then the median, striking the cable barrier and entering the southbound lanes. The truck overturned and struck two vehicles, with debris hitting a third vehicle, and came to rest blocking both southbound lanes.
Danneman, 37, who was driving a 2014 Ford Focus in the southbound lanes, with his young daughter in the car, was found dead on the scene by Platte County deputies. The 4-year-old girl as well as two people in other vehicles suffered minor injuries in the crash.
“I was heading northbound in the slow lane,” Braddock said in a written statement provided to police. “I caught dog out of the corner of my eye. She was looking at me and I asked her, ‘what?’ I put my eye back on the road and I started swerving. I saw traffic coming towards me in the southbound side. After everything was done I noticed two automobiles. The guy who cut the rubber piece so I could get out.”
Braddock’s pet dog was in the truck with him at the time. He also admitted he was not wearing his seat belt, or the glasses he was required to wear as a restriction on his driver’s license.
Danneman’s wife, Tabitha, also on Feb. 8 filed a personal injury suit against Braddock, his employer Friend Frieghtways of Friend, Neb. and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. A docket call in that case has been set for Friday, May 11 before Platte County Circuit judge Thomas Fincham.
Danneman’s death sparked a public outpouring of grief in the Weston community, with his funeral services held at Rudolph Eskridge Stadium at West Platte High School. A graduate of Missouri Valley College, he coached football, wrestling, track and field and even tennis teams for 15 years. He became a football head coach for the first time at Drexel, Mo. before finding a home at West Platte after Chuck Siler’s retirement in 2013.
Danneman compiled a 20-28 record at West Platte, leading the Bluejays to Class 1 District 7 titles and quarterfinal appearances in 2013 and 2015 — both times going into a matchup as an underdog against highly ranked Hamilton. In both quarterfinal losses, West Platte came up just short of pulling a monumental upset.
In addition to head football coaching duties, Danneman was an assistant coach for wrestling and was in the chair in 2016 when Justin Rhodes became the first individual state champion in program history.