Driver charged in wrongway 2-fatality DWI crash on I-29

A wrongway driver who caused a two-fatality crash last month apparently ended up miles off course of his expected route home from a holiday party, according to court documents.

Last week, the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office followed a felony charge of driving while intoxicated resulting in the death of two or more people against 31-year-old Deone E. Starr of Kansas City, Mo. He allegedly told investigators he left a party in Lee’s Summit, Mo. on the night of Wednesday, Nov. 22 feeling “buzzed” when he left around midnight.

 Deone Starr

Deone Starr

At about 12:49 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, Starr was driving a black Honda Pilot northbound on Interstate 29 in Platte County when his vehicle struck a blue Honda CRV. Nelson Guzman-Cuellar and Normalina Erazo Chaconde-Perez were both declared dead at the scene as a result of the crash.

Guzman-Cuellar and Chaconde Perez were in a relationship and on their way home from work, according to reports.

According to Starr, he “must have been too intoxicated to drive” when he started home, although he only admitted to having two mixed drinks and a wine cooler at the party. He didn’t remember taking any drinks with him when he left.

However, Starr normally would’ve traveled Interstate 470 to U.S. Highway 71 before exiting at Parvin Road near Worlds of Fun to reach his home. Instead, he ended up 20 minutes north and going the wrong way on I-29.

Witnesses first saw Starr’s vehicle northbound in the southbound lane near 56th Street, according to court documents. A Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper was exiting onto southbound I-29 at Highway 152 when he witnessed the crash.

According to court documents, the trooper found Starr as the lone occupant of the wrongway vehicle, and he was strapped in with his seat belt and had a bottle of alcohol in his lap.

A Platte County Sheriff’s Office Deputy who saw the vehicle going the wrong way estimated its speed at 100 mph, weaving in and out of traffic.

Starr was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries after the crash. He was unable to be tested for impairment due to his unconsciousness.

A toxicology test of Starr’s blood taken nearly three hours after the crash showed a blood alcohol level of 0.125 percent — well over the legal limit. He remains in custody at the Platte County Detention Center in lieu of a $250,000 cash-only bond.